Sparkling Wine
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A Sparkling Wine Celebration - Made in America

 

Listen carefully, the sound at your next gathering may very well be a “pop” coming from a bottle of bubbly made right here in the United States.

The quality of American sparkling wine has vastly improved in the past decade, and Americans are well aware of the change – drinking more sparkling wines than ever before. In fact, the largest increase of wine consumption in the U.S. is in the sparkling wine category.

 

Chardonnay grapes
Chardonnay grapes


California leads the pack in production, with several producers offering great sparklers. Some notable French champagne companies have had a presence there since the 1970s. The leading grape varieties used in California sparkling wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Blanc, though producers are using just about any grape variety.

The Finger Lakes runs a close second for producing world-class bubbly. Riesling is their original sparkling wine grape and still used today along with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cayuga White, and Gewurztraminer. Several producers are also making delightful sparkling ice-wine.

Other notable states producing sparklers include Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington State.

When selecting sparkling wine, look closely at the label. Sparklers produced in the United States are made in both the méthode champenoise - the authentic French method for making sparkling wines after double fermentation takes place in the bottle, and the more cost effective charmat method - also referred to as “bulk process”, using large glass and steel tanks for second fermentation and then bottling the wine under pressure.

Deciphering the code is simple for sparkling wines. The styles range from very dry (natural), dry (brut), to sweet (sec and demi-sec). Many are known as “Blanc de Blancs” - made from white Chardonnay grapes, “Blanc de Noirs” - made from black grapes, and "Rosé" – from both white and red grapes. Vintage sparklers are harvested from only one vintage. Non-vintage (NV) sparklers are made from grapes harvested during multiple vintages.

American sparklers are the most versatile style of wine and priced right. Enjoy them as an aperitif or during an entire meal. And what better way to celebrate the traditional American holidays then to pop the cork on some sparkling wine from the good ol' USA?

 

 

Here are some recommendations:

Korbel Sweet Cuvee (California)
This is a very affordable, sweet cuvee with lots of citrus and tropical flavors. A fun sparkler with fruit salads, sorbets, and strawberry pie.

Korbel Sweet Cuvee

 

J Cuvee 20 (California)
Produced by Jordon Vineyards, this Russian River sparkler exudes aromas of citrus, vanilla, and butterscotch with subtle flavors of spicy apple pie. Perfect for any occasion.


J Cuvee 20

 

Roederer Estate (California)
A multi-vintage cuvee in the French style of Louis Roederer Champagne. This crisp, light bubbly carries a complex mix of pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. Marvelous with savory dishes and macaroons.



Roederer Estate

 

Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2009 (California)
A super star sparkler that is very flavorful exuding an array of red berry flavors. Serve on its own or with caviar, salads and sushi.



Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2009

 

Chateau Frank Blanc de Noirs 2007 (Finger Lakes, NY)
This is an intense full-bodied sparkling wine with great structure and length. A great choice with shrimp and bouillabaisse.


Chateau Frank Blanc de Noirs 2007

 

Westport Rivers RJR 2006 (Massachusetts)
A highly acclaimed sparkling wine with aromas of toasty brioche, peach marmalade and lemon. Serve with hard cheeses and shellfish.


Westport Rivers RJR 2006

 

Gruet Brut Rosé (New Mexico)
A fun and vibrant sparkler with cherry and vanilla aromas billowing with citrus, leading to a clean crisp finish.


Gruet Brut Rosé

 

Veritas Scintilla (Virginia)
100% chardonnay grapes provide aromas and flavors of lemon, green apple and pear, accented by a touch of yeast and toasted brioche, with a long clean finish. Pairs well with mac & cheese, casseroles, and BBQ chicken.


Veritas Scintilla

 

More American sparkling wine recommendations:

Domaine Carneros (Napa, CA)
Domaine Chandon (Yountville, CA)
Gloria Ferrer (Sonona, CA)
Laetitia formally Deutz (Arroyo Grande, CA)
Mumm Napa (Rutherford, CA)
Scharffenberger (Calistoga, CA)

 

 



 
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