“Schramsberg Vineyards, one of the country’s top producers of sparkling wines, has reason to be bubbly. The winery is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In 1972, when President Nixon hosted Chou En-Lai, premier of China, at the state dinner remembered for the “toast to peace,” the 1969 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs was the beverage.
“Schramsberg’s sparklers have been poured at state dinners, White House dinners and luncheons, an economic summit and President Reagan’s 75th birthday party. They’re uniformly exceptional wines. But you don’t have to drop $175 for the limited-edition Late Disgorged sparkling wines that herald the birthday. There are several excellent choices in the $29-to-$44 range.
“The nonvintage Mirabelle Brut Rose ($29) is a fruity, versatile choice, good as an aperitif and with dishes from barbecue to roast turkey. Schramsberg Brut Rose ($44) is richer and right for any toast, plus a pizza. And the 2011 Schramsberg Crémant Demi-Sec ($40) is a creamy and delightfully off-dry. The ’06 crémant starred at a state dinner for Angela Merkel in 2011.
“But consider the crisp, refined 2012 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs ($39) and lush, berry-cherry driven 2011 Blanc de Noirs ($41) for the kind of American sparkler that competes favorably with real Champagne. And if you’re ready to splurge: the 2007 J. Schram ($120), a classic named for German winemaker Jacob Schram, who first brought the Napa property in 1862.”