Family Tradition


Sip-Wine-Nov-14Thanksgiving calls for fine American wines. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson 

 

Each Thanksgiving I pour American red wines—made by a family-owned winery—in addition to Schramsberg sparkling wines. And this year these reds will be J. Davies, part of the Schramsberg portfolio of still wines. Three J. Davies reds, one cabernet sauvignon and two pinot noirs, will round out the table. 

The Schramsberg estate is a registered historic landmark, which has been restored by the Davies family. The Victorian house, the lower winery, the barn, and the caves remain largely unchanged since Jacob Schram’s days in the 19th century. Schramsberg has also played a role in our nation’s history when the Blanc de Blancs were used for President Nixon’s 1972 “Toast to Peace” with China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. Schramsberg’s sparkling wines have been served at official state functions by every U.S. presidential administration since.

In 1965, Schramsberg vintner Hugh Davies was born, which is the same year that his parents, Jack and Jamie Davies, purchased the historic Diamond Mountain vineyards. More than 43 acres of vineyard blocks range from 500 to 1,000 feet in elevation, including two Schram sections. These date back to 1862, when Jacob Schram planted Napa Valley’s first hillside vineyards. A third section was first planted in 1878 by Colin McEachran and was later purchased by Schramsberg in 1985. J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($90) is the 11th vintage of cabernet sauvignon. Juicy notes of black cherry, blueberry, black plum, and boysenberry combine with hints of clove, cinnamon, and vanilla in this refined, well-structured wine.

In 1967, the Davies first used this pinot noir to make their inaugural vintage of Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine. And since that time Schramsberg’s winemakers have developed lifelong lasting relationships with some of the best pinot noir growers on the Northern Coast. 2012 is the fourth vintage of J. Davies still wines made from pinot noir. Davies Vineyards Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyards 2012 ($55) is from the Ferrington Vineyards property, located 100 miles north of San Francisco and 17 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Notes of black cherry, blueberry, vanilla, and white pepper synthesize with plum, mocha, and boysenberry in this wine with tenacious acidity. Davies Vineyards Pinot Noir Nobles Vineyards 2012 ($55) is from the Sonoma Coast’s Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, 950 to 1050 feet above sea level. Notes of cranberry, dark cherry, licorice, and vanilla intermingle in this vibrant wine with a dense finish.

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