By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
It saddens me to see so many California family wineries being sold to publicly traded beverage companies. Thus 50 years of Schramsberg vintages are truly something to celebrate. Congratulations to the Davies family, who has kept Schramsberg in their possession and control since Jack and Jamie Davies purchased the Napa Valley property in the 1960s. The Davies reestablished the Schramsberg property while establishing America’s first sparkling wine house in 1965, the year their son and current vintner and winemaker, Hugh, was born.
Seven styles of Schramsberg’s sparklers are produced using Méthode Champenoise at this California Historical Landmark on Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain. Hugh carries on his parents’ tradition of crafting world-class sparkling wines. “We are passionate about our craft, always excited to take on the next vintage, building upon the experience and relationships developed over 50 years,” Davies says.
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2012 is dry and boasts crisp notes of lime, grapefruit, and green apple with a lovely and persistent effervescence. Blanc de Noir’s name refers to the Pinot Noir grapes in this medium-body sparkling wine. A synthesis of cherry, tangerine, strawberry, dough, and almond intermingle in this crisp and complex wine. Schramsberg Crémant Demi-sec is a creamy, off-dry wine with half the pressure of Schramsberg’s other sparkling wines. Schramsberg made California’s first Crémant in 1972. The 2011 Crémant Demi-sec offers bright notes of pineapple, guava, pear, apricot, orange, and mango.
In addition to their sparkling wines, Schramsberg began making their first non-sparkling wine—J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon in 2004, named for Jack Davies. The Diamond Mountain Vineyard that produces the grapes for this wine was replanted in Bordeaux varietals in 1994.