Feature Coverage

Popping the Cork on 50 Years of Bubbly

“Sparkling wine doesn’t get a chance to age in my cellar. We drink it too quickly. Most of you are probably in the same position. That’s why it was such a rare experience when Schramsberg Vineyards opened its cellar recently for a retrospective tasting that celebrated the Napa winery’s 50th anniversary.

“For Hugh Davies it is a bittersweet time, reflecting on the past and looking to the future. The president and CEO, Davies was born in fall 1965, just as the winery was finishing its first harvest. His parents, Jack and Jamie Davies, have passed away and during the tasting he talked about their legacy, his voice breaking. ‘They wanted us to move forward with our own vision.’”

“The tasting included blanc de blancs and blanc de noirs, the oldest of which dated to the first vintage. For comparison, Davies poured new releases: J Schram and Schramsberg Reserve, both 2007s.

“Tasting the older wines required a certain amount of imagination, as you might expect. In most cases the wines were not late-disgorged. Also, it’s worth noting that the vineyard sources changed dramatically over the years. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were not exactly plentiful in California in the 1960s. The Davies used what grapes they could find. As Davies said, the wines are a “reflection of a specific time.'”

Tim Fish, September 23, 2015
Popping the Cork on 50 Years of Bubbly