Toast the Holiday Season with These Six California Sparkling Wines
Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée de La Pompadour, $38
Named for Madame de la Pompadour, Louis XV’s chief mistress, this exciting cuvée—made from only estate-grown, certified-organic grapes in Carneros—has enticing aromas of strawberry, peach, honeysuckle and spice. “Our wines are feminine and elegant, and I think of them as Audrey Hepburn in the little black dress: everything in perfectly beautiful balance, but decidedly kicky and fun,” winemaker Eileen Crane states. “Cuvée de la Pompadour truly exemplifies this style.”
Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence, $20
Made in the méthode champenoise from 60-percent Chardonnay and 40-percent Pinot Noir and aged two years on the lees, the wine has a rich texture with refreshing acidity and notes of pastry and caramel. “The cool-weather conditions of California’s North Coast contribute to the perfumes and flavors of the fruit,” winemaker Tex Sawyer explains. “We use full malolactic fermentation, which results in wines that are round and balanced with a touch of vanilla cream in the nose.”
Roederer Estate Brut,$24
Featuring all estate-grown fruit from the Anderson Valley, this refined, multi-vintage blend, with its pear and spice flavors and freshness, has the know-how of its parent Champagne, Louis Roederer, behind it. “To create the house style, we blend in 12-percent reserve wines and age in oak casks for four years. The long aging on the yeasts creates aromatic complexity and enhanced mouth-feel,” says winemaker Arnaud Weyrich.
Mumm Napa Brut Rosé,$24
With its stunning coral color, this elegant wine—made from a blend of 80-percent Pinot Noir and 20-percent Chardonnay—makes a rich impression of fruit with red berry, cherry and citrus flavors. “Our Brut Rosé comes from top Napa vineyards and is crafted to emphasize freshness and the beautiful fruit intensity,” explains winemaker Ludovic Dervin. “It ages 18 months on the yeast before disgorging, which gives it tremendous complexity and depth.”
With intense strawberry, citrus and cherry notes, this pretty pink rosé combines freshness and a rounded, creamy mouth-feel. “Unlike a lot of other rosés, this blend is primarily Chardonnay, giving it a bright, crisp acidity and rich palate,” says winemaker Pauline Lhote, who just completed her tenth harvest at Chandon. “The palate bursts with flavors of mixed red berries and lemon sorbet.”
Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé,$29
With handpicked grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey, this blend is extremely bright and flavorful, exuding cherry, raspberry and strawberry, and possessing great acidity. “Our access to excellent coastal vineyard sites for Pinot Noir gives us the ability to craft a multi-vintage sparkling wine with a rich depth of character,” says Sean Thompson, senior winemaker. “The berry-dense core of Mirabelle Rosé is supported by a strong backbone of Chardonnay, sustaining its youthful finish.”
A version of this article appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of San Francisco Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Pop Culture.