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While living in New York and working at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, I came across Schramsberg at many occasions.  Must admit though, that I have never bought a single bottle, despite it being the wine of choice at White House’s state functions.

old American winery

old American winery

And the reason was simple!

Entry-level French Champagne costs only a few dollars more!

a house, a farm, and large winery

a house, a farm, and large winery

Fine bubbles, bread dough and apples and lime

old press, probably older than the winery

old press, probably older than the winery

Most people appreciate good Champagne for its fine and elegant mousse, intermingling aromas of yeast, apples and lime, plus the cut from the refreshing acidity.  But now that the recent tax change has pushed the real deal over the THB 3,000-4,000 mark there is good reason to look around.

2 years on the lees

2 years on the lees

So I finally bought a Schramsberg, a Californian specialist in sparkling wine for close to 50 years.  The Blanc de Blancs from the 2009 vintage is made from a selection of Chardonnay grapes grown in various North Coast AVAs in California.

as close as it gets to Champagne!

as close as it gets to Champagne!

It ages for 24 months on its lees to gain complexity (somewhat less than the 36 months for Champagne).  Tasted blind, with no less than 4 winemakers, all from Siam Winery, the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2009, shows exactly what one would expect from a Chardonnay-based Champagne, and we were stunned! A really enjoyable drink.

This vintage is starting to drink nicely, and will open up in the next 3-5 years.  Its golden color, fine bead, and mineral inflicted notes will go nicely with oysters, caviar and whatever you indulge in this New Year.

the 07 needed almost 45 minutes to expand in the glass

the 07 needed almost 45 minutes to expand in the glass

If you enjoy the flavors and dryness of a fine Champagne, and are willing to spend around THB 2,000 per bottle, this or its sibling, the Blanc de Noirs (a white sparkler from Pinot Noir grapes) is the ideal alternative to pick.