So, one of my annoying habits is that I am highly critical of most guided tours, especially wine tours. It must be the combination of having a Master’s Degree in Speech Communication (Public Speaking) and a background in wine education. I find it has become harder and harder to find a tour that I am not overly critical of (I know, it’s a bad habit and I fully admit it). But refreshingly I was able to go on a very nice tour last week along with tasting some fantastic sparkling wines at Schramsberg!
We showed up about 5 minutes late (doah) due to the crazy construction going on outside at the bottom of their long driveway in Calistoga, but that didn’t stop them from quietly walking us in to join the tour that had already begun. Todd, our awesome tour guide graciously welcomed the three of us to the group and filled us in on what we missed… and then we were on our way to the caves. I love caves. They remind me of the wineries I visited throughout France last year. I especially love looking at super dusty wine bottles resting away until that day they get cleaned off, labeled, and prepared for some lucky consumer (like me) to drink! After the walking tour of the caves we were escorted into a private room for a sit down tasting of 5 of their sparkling wines.
Throughout the tour and tasting Todd was very informative, witty, and entertaining at the same time. He made me forget that I was actually on a guided tour and instead I just felt like we were old friends just sharing a couple drinks together.
And now for the highlights…
Blanc de Blanc
Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. This wine was light, crisp with green apple, lemon and a lovely toasty, nutty and light caramel finish. Fruity, citrusy, nutty! You can’t go wrong for this $36 beauty!
2001 J. Schram
According to Todd, this wine was 75% Chardonnay with 6 years aging on the yeasts. This wine first smelt of honey and toast, and then evolved into baked apple pie. Very intriguing with a mesmerizing creaminess and super fine bubbles, apple, and toasted components. $100
2006 Blanc de Noirs
90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay
This wine had a very golden hue rather than a slightly pink hue that you can sometimes get from a Blanc de Noir. It had an abundance of melon, apple, spice and lemon that somewhat left a burning sensation on my mouth… yet creamy at the same time! Not my favorite of the lineup, but would love to retry it again sometime. $38
Oh, yes please!
70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, aged 6 years before bottling!
Small production at 200 cases
This wine reminded me of my favorite style of Chardonnay… only the funny part is that it is a Pinot Noir based wine, not Chard… but it just had this overwhelming amount of creaminess, caramel, butterscotch, butter, rich fruit and rich hazelnut! Along with that it maintained some lovely peach and citrus notes to balance the richness from the butter and cream. It was a beautiful wine, and someday when I am wealthy enough to just sport cases and cases of this I will gladly do so! $100
Querencia Brut Rosé
82% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Noir
Peach aromas with additional cherry, strawberry, red raspberry. This pretty pink wine was very light and somewhat tart. Not my favorite of the bunch, but I would still drink it any night of the week if someone offered it to me. $41
A good tour and good bubbles. I'll toast to that!