Blanc de Noirs (white from black) is the counterpart to Blanc de Blancs (white from white). Made primarily from the red grape Pinot Noir, this is a complex, medium-bodied, brut sparkling wine.
Schramsberg pioneered the Blanc de Noirs style in the United States, releasing the first such American sparkler in 1967. The key to producing this complex Blanc de Noirs is the winery’s vast and varied focus on diverse cool-climate vineyards. Pinot Noir from Carneros and Anderson Valley combine with fruit from low-yielding Sonoma and Marin coastal vineyards to develop a sparkling wine with a breadth of fruitful aroma and flavor. Select Chardonnay lots give zest and backbone to the blend.
Making a white wine from a red grape requires great care – hand-picked fruit, early morning harvest, optimal fruit maturity and delicate pressing. A balance of bright flavors, crisp acidity and minimal tannins is achieved. Barrel and malolactic fermentation of particular wine lots add richness and body. Yeast contact in the bottle harmonizes all the elements together in a mature, toasty style. The youthful fruit character of the wine will develop and soften with additional age in the bottle. With proper storage, this sparkling wine will be delicious for many years, even a couple of decades to come.
Schramsberg Vineyards is a family-owned Calistoga winery founded in 1862 by Jacob Schram, a German immigrant who was one of the early winemakers in Napa. He planted vineyards and built hillside caves and cellars to store and age wines. The property gained significant attention and prospered through the end of the 19th century.
After Jacob’s death, the property was sold and changed hands several times. It was not used as a vineyard for many years and fell into neglect.
In 1965, after a yearlong search, Jack and Jamie Davies discovered the run-down winery and the tangled remains of once stately gardens and underground cellars. The historic Schramsberg property (declared a Historical Monument in 1957) had been abandoned for years but the Davies took up the challenge and decided Schramsberg would be brought back to life. They restored the estate and set out to produce the finest and most complex hand-crafted sparkling wines in California made in the true champagne method style.
Schramsberg sparkling wines are produced from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in a broad array of cool-climate North Coast vineyards located in Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties. The winemakers draw from more than 110 individual vineyard sites to create over 250 base wines which are then artfully blended to create Schramsberg’s 12-14 distinctive sparkling wines each year.
Most of Schramsberg’s viticultural and winemaking practices are carried out by hand, and the winery ferments 25% of its juice in oak barrels to produce a richer, more luscious style. They have also developed a library of reserve base wines that are barrel aged for up to 10 years to provide additional refinement and complexity to the finished products.