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Jan 2, 2013 04:16 PM

Schramsberg Sparking recs?

Hi there..

I am not a fan of sparking wine or champagne. I have always said that I do not discriminate against wine and I enjoy it all, but the bubbly stuff just never did anything for me.

So last November I spent a week in Napa and there were three occasions when the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs was served during pairings. I really liked it! One in particular that was quite memorable was at a wine paring demonstration with Andrea Robinson and her husband. They paired it with air popped popcorn sprinkled lightly with truffle salt.

Time restraints kept us from visiting the winery and trying their other wines.

I was just surfing their web sight and see they have several different bottles. Seeing how I liked the Blanc de Blancs so much, would anyone who has had their wines recommend other bottles from this winery? Shipping is a killer to where I live (Alaska), so I usually just get a case of 12.

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    1. Like you, normally not a big fan, however NYE there were several Schramsbergs (blanc de blanc, blanc de noir), a cremant (didn't try unfortunately?) and two different Billecot Salmon (sp?) that were fantastic. Having to reassess my former position.

      1. The J. Schram is miraculous. Best made American sparkler I've tasted. I loved the 2003 and 2004.

        The Blanc de Blancs is our house sparkler. Always pleasing.

        I like the Reserve also, but it has heft, more like an aged French Champagne. Wonderful with roast fowl.

        6 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine

          You really have to try Equinox . . . I'll have to bring some up to Napa and drop some off . . . .

          1. re: zin1953

            I'll check it out...

            Update: Already done.

            1. re: zin1953

              Hmm. Interesting recco. They're still on the 97?
              I did a search on it and came up with a cellartracker note. Seems that we're mutual friends with Tony Velebil, and Andrew Gelb. I've met Lou as well and I'm sure some other common folk. I've been at a couple of Bay Area dinners, met guys like Dr.J, Josh duLac, and David Petersen.
              I haven't been over there in eons, but did/do you post on WLDG?
              I tend to agree with you on the QPR value of J Schram really heading south as it hit $100. I also got an email blast from a retailer selling and Iron Horse bottling at over $170.

              1. re: john gonzales

                Well, keep in mind re: the 1997 J. Schram that the price is, I think, justified (or at a minimum, realistic), given the extreme amount of time (and investment) in keeping a wine en tirage for 15 years . . . at that point, it's longer than Bollinger R.D., for example, and no one complains that the price is outrageous -- well, compared to other tête-de-cuvée offerings, at any rate.

                I just had my last 1997 Equinox Blanc de Blancs -- 100% Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mtns. AVA; no dosage-- on Christmas Day. It was disgorged in 2005, so it spent 7+ years en tirage, and the rest of the time in my cellar. Simply stunning wine, and I would indeed compare it to Champagne similarly produced. IMHO, it holds its own beautifully. That said, it retails for $70 or so. Again, it's understandable from a production viewpoint, but most consumers still think "For THAT price, I could get . . . "

                Indeed, look what I wrote in reply to the OP: "At $110 suggested retail, I can think of any number of 'true' Champagnes (as opposed to California sparkling wines) I would prefer." Then again, I can't remember the last time I spent $100+ on a bottle of wine, period, so the J. Schram crosses that "undrawn line" for me of being too expensive regardless of quality . . .

                1. re: zin1953

                  I see that the Equinox 97 is still avail for $70ish. Was it previously sold for significantly less?

                  Re. the J Schram, I didn't know we were discussing the 97 LD. I've never had that wine, and It appears that (perhaps being end of run) the low-price is around $200. That indeed might be about the price of Blly RD, but both really have to have their value questioned in relationship even to other tete cuvee for far less. Personally I'd just save my lunch money and get a 96 Dom for a bit more. Of courseI realize that value is in the eye of the beholder.

                  1. re: john gonzales

                    No, the Equinox is $70. But if it's from the original disgorgement (i.e.: 2005), then it's beginning to show its age. If it's from a later dégorgement, then it should be spectacular.

          2. I'm a bit confused. Are you thinking of buying a *mixed* case? I mean, if you know you like the Blanc de Blancs . . .

            Generally, I have preferred the Blanc de Noirs to the Blanc de Blancs, but whereas the BdB is a "true" Blanc de Blancs (from a Champagne perspective -- 100% Chardonnay), the BdN also contains a bit of Chardonnay. Nonetheless, it's quite good -- rounder, fuller on the palate.

            My problem with the J. Schram bottlings is price. At $110 suggested retail, I can think of any number of "true" Champagnes (as opposed to California sparkling wines) I would prefer.

            4 Replies
            1. re: zin1953

              Yes, I plan to buy 12 bottles. I figured it couldn't hurt to ask folks who have had Schramsberg this particular question. I really do not, generally speaking, like sparkling wine. I tried every bottle at Mumms, did not like any of them, tried Crystal, didn't do anything for me, Dom, same thing. M&R Asti is way too sweat, yuck.

              I was very surprised to find myself enjoying the Blanc de Blancs. I could just buy 12 bottles of it, but figured I try a couple of their other bottles, if others on this sight think I might enjoy them (based on my enjoyment of the BdB).

              I'm not really sure what it is about that bottle that I like so much either. It seamed to have just enough sweetness, but not too much, good flavor (I usually can't really taste the grape when drinking sparkling wine).

              1. re: akmike

                Yes, well, that's sort of what I thought . . . given what you've said here, I'd be more tempted to buy 12 bottles of BdB -- you *know* you like it -- and stick with that.

                1. re: akmike

                  <I usually can't really taste the grape when drinking sparkling wine).>

                  If that's the case, you are probably drinking the sparkling wine too cold. It's a bad habit many folks have gotten into, thinking sparkling should be icy cold. That's a good thing if the sparkling you're drinking isn't very tasty, but otherwise, I prefer it be cold-ish. I like to taste what I'm drinking.

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Possibly, what temp do you drink them at? I have a 50 bottle cooler that I use for my non-chard whites and rose's. I keep the temp at 46 deg F on this cooler. All other wines go to the cellar and I keep that set to 55 deg F.

                    But I don't think we drink sparkling wines too cold. We do not keep the bottle in a iced container or anything, we just pull it out of the cooler, open and drink. Also, when we tasted at Mumms, the temp was whatever they poured them at and it took a good hour to get through them all (five of us got different flights and shared).

                    I dunno, when I drink them, they are generally dry or sweet with a lot of bubbles itching my nose.... The Schramsberg on the other hand just had a great pallet to me.

              2. I would get six Blanc de Blancs and six Blanc de Noirs.


                The 2007 vintage gets 94 points from the wine enthusiast:


                Blanc de Noirs is based on pinot noir and has just the faintest pink tinge from contact with the skins. It is usually produced in a Brut (very dry) style, but due to the use of pinot has a little more body and flavor than other sparkling wines.

                Other BdNoirs that we really like at a lower price point are the Domaine Chandon Carneros and the Chateau St. Michelle. If you like the Schramsberg I would give the Chandon a try:



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