Sparkling Values: Old World and New
Roederer Brut Premier
& Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs
To close out the year, I'd like to focus on my go-to sparkling wine values year-after-year, one from the Old World and one from the New World.
I'm constantly amazed at how much Schramsberg and Roederer Brut Premier overperform each year. What both producers are able to achieve for the price is extraordinary.
"A Cristal-like Champagne with Outstanding Finesse." That’s how Champagne guru Richard Juhlin describes Roederer’s Brut Premier. And his words aren't hyperbolic in the least. It is widely acknowledged as one of the best non-vintage Champagnes - and at an incredible value for bubbly from the prestigious Louis Roederer house (yes, the Roederer of Cristal fame).
Every year we return to Roederer’s Brut Premier. When it comes to the intersection of quality and value, nothing in Champagne competes. This is the ideal "house Champagne."
Yes, Roederer’s vintage Cristal is absolutely covet-worthy, but the house’s fantastic Brut Premier packs a strikingly similar finesse to that prestige cuvée, along with plenty of their signature freshness, elegance and power. If you have had the Brut Premier, then you already know how impressive this Champagne is, how impressive the quality is for the price, and you know the combination of tension-filled dark minerality and finishing wrap of round creaminess that bears witness to Roederer’s significant use of barrel-aged reserve wines in the final blend.
Our heart lies within Champagne, but the quality that Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs delivers for the price is hard to deny - it can hang with Champagnes twice its price.
The plain fact is that Schramsberg is producing the most compelling and rigorous sparkling wine in the New World. Making great sparkling wine is extremely difficult, but Schramsberg has managed to excel in the category. It can go head-to-head with great Champagne.
Schramsberg is an important chapter in California winemaking history - it's a beautiful example of the trail-blazing spirit of American viniculture. In 1965, Jamie and Jack Davies set out from LA and landed in Napa to do something no one else had done yet in America: they wanted to make great sparkling wines based on Champagne's grapes and Champagne's methods - secondary fermentation in bottle, aging the wines for several years before release, etc.
In no time at all, Schramsberg was realizing its goal - producing exemplary American sparkling wine. Their flagship Blanc de Blancs has made quite a name for itself over five decades of vintages - it has been used in some official capacity by every president since Nixon.
Perhaps the ultimate sign of Schramsberg's success was that French Champagne houses started to flock to California. Names like Moët & Chandon, Mumm, and Roederer now all have domestic sparkling wine in their portfolio.
I'm in awe of what Roederer and Schramsberg provide at their respective price points. These are wines to have on hand at all times, which is why I've created special 6-pack pricing on them. It's also worth noting that both of these benefit from aging on the cork, so while it's hard to resist drinking them now, at these prices there's also no rush.
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Crush Wine & Spirits