It was nice hearing that Alder agreed, saying that sparkling wines are perfect to pair with fried foods - French fries, popcorn, chicken fingers, etc. I think I will need to pick up a few of these sparklers and have a fried food pairing in NYC!
I sat with Amie and Shoshana for this tasting. We tried 4 sparkling wines, all from California. I enjoyed Alder's presentation because in addition to tasting notes, he would tell us interesting backstories and anecdotes about the wineries.
Our first sparkling wine was a personal favorite: Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs (2006). It has 100% Chardonnay grapes. At $36 suggested retail price, it was the cheapest of the 4 wines. It was also Amie and my favorite amongst the 4 wines.
We enjoyed this beverage at The French Laundry during our honeymoon, so it's a sentimental favorite. It was Schramsberg's first wine (1965) and in 1972 the 1969 vintage was the wine former President Richard Nixon had at the "Toast to Peace" in Beijing with Premier Chou Enlai. Since then, Schramsberg wines have been served by every subsequent presidential administration.
Sparkler #2: Iron Horse (Brut 2002): This sparkling wine, along with the Schramsberg, were the crowd's favorites. At $85, it was also the most expensive. (This was Shoshana's favorite, and she chose it before hearing the pricepoint!) Made with 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, I found that it had a toastier taste than the Schramsberg.
Our third wine was L'Ermitage by Roderer Estates (Brut 2002). Though this wine also had a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, it tasted much sweeter than the others. This wine had a $45 price point and must have been popular as Alder managed to get the last 10 bottles from the winery just for this tasting.
Our final wine was the Handley (Brut Rose 2003). This $40 rose was light and crisp, but also sweet (the bouquet was also sweet).
I really enjoyed trying these wines out with Amie and Shoshana. I'm looking forward to having a few of these wines...maybe with some fried chicken.