Bubbles bubbles BUBBLES! My bubbles…

Holiday and new year celebrations a chalked full of traditions. In fact most of my recent write-ups have included some reference to my own traditions that have come to be. I love them because they all have a core value of spending time with the best of friends, family, love ones aaaaaaaand great wines.

December 31st is a big day dedicated to bubbles. As the story goes a few years back a small group of folks ended up cruising around Napa hitting up the usual suspects of sparking wine producers before capping off the night with a now fabled truffle dinner at Cook restaurant in St. Helena.

And thus a new tradition was born… The Bubbles Tour.

Schramsberg_frog_sideNow in its third iteration we take the time to hit some of the staples but also something new and different. This year the day started out at Schramsberg which, if you are looking for sparkling wine from the US of A, is hard act to follow. As a matter of fact, in 2011 I ended up doing their tasting and tour four times in one year. Once the Bubbles Tour came around I bit the bullet and joined the wine club because who doesn’t want awesome bubbly delivered right to their door?! My everyday bubbles that they produce varies between their Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir (their Brut Rosé is worth checking out too). The Blanc de Blanc is probably the crisp-est of the bunch, perfect for that warm day on the back porch… or dreaming about it with that whole ‘polar vortex’ thing going on. The Blanc de Noir is a bit rounder, creamier and has a bit of an extra yum factor for my taste buds. If you are looking for that special bottle of sparkling you cannot go wrong with their Reserve. During this bubbles tour we tasted the 2005 vintage. Made of mostly Pinot Noir (74% Pinot and 26% Chardonnay to be exact), this bottle of bubbles has the ‘wow’ factor. It is rich, creamy and toasty with some very nice light fruit characteristics to round it out.

And we aren’t done yet!

From there we hitched a ride via Napa Valley Tours & Transportation (remember, be responsible you crazies) to the Sonoma side for a stop at Gloria Ferrer. This stop requires sitting out on the patio, kicking back and enjoying the view. We took our time and enjoyed their 2005 Royal Cuvée and 2005 Extra Brut. It was hard to pick a favorite. Both were good bubbles for different reasons, and for $35 and $45 respectively they were pretty well worth it. Looking back at the tasting I did prefer the Extra Brut, very refreshing with some nice floral and lemon notes. Between the view, wines and company it was hard to not enjoy this stop.

photo 1.PNGWe were on to the last leg of the bubble tour when we arrived at Sigh Champagne & Sparkling Tasting Room in a little nook on the Sonoma square with the famed Jaime (who literally everyone we talked to at Schramsberg and Gloria Ferrer knew).  With a sign like the one on the right hanging in the place it was basically love at first sight; and the fact that they have $3 Miller High Life “The Champagne of Beers” on the list. We worked our way through three French Champagnes: 2002 Lelarge Pugeot Premier Cru, 2005 Tattinger Brut and G. Brunot Grand Reserve. My person favorite was the ’02 Lelarge Pugeot. For me it in compassed everything that I want out of Champagne; much like the Schramsberg Reserve does for sparkling wine. Toasty really encompasses most of what I look for but these wines have so much more in terms of complexity with their creaminess and subtle fruit character with a vibrancy that goes on and on like the Energizer Bunny.

I am a sucker for good bubbly from around the world and this was truly a day of indulgence that was capped off with that fabled truffle dinner and a midnight toast. I hope you were able to wrap 2013 up with a nice shiny bow as well! Stick to those resolutions and make sure you make room for some bubbles. 🙂

-Manderson

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