Trying to find a place in Napa (or Sonoma) that's nice and focuses on champagne sampling. I've researched but still come up empty handed. Any suggestions?
First champagne is called sparkin
g wine in California - its a legal term as champagne can only be sold from France.....(Champagne Region).
There are some stellar places for what you are looking for:
Schramsberg - reservation needed; great staff; good tour
Mumm - lovely outdoor setting; do the top end tasting end of day for great views; order cheese platter as an appetizer before going out to dinner that night (or yeah - you can go any time of day) (nice photo gallerY0
Domaine Chandon - nice grounds; good high end restaurant; nice winery tours, can schedule ahead or make appointments
Tattinger Domaine Carneros- the 3 abore were in Napa, this one is close to Napa city - 20 minute drive or so; but in Sonoma; beautiful building; spendy but great tasting in elegant setting
Gloria Ferrar - in Sonoma, puts on Stellar winery events; the Catalan Festival in July is fantastic; nice setting;
this is the SF forum. Please ask our friends in Napa or Sonoma valleys Are you looking for a cave like Gloria Ferrier or Chandon or a wine bar or a dinner place with pairing. If it is a pairing, the sommelier can do it for you.Edited: 31 May 2013, 21:00
Web site for Gloria FerrAR
and if on your way to Armstrong Redwoods, nice deli and place at
and yeah - if you post in Napa and Sonoma forums may get more replies....
Hope this helps for now - or let us know in the forums above if you are looking for something else
While Mini is generally correct regarding the use of the term "champagne," it's a little more nuanced.
Certainly in much of the world (starting with & particularly in Europe), "champagne" is reserved for only those sparkling wines originating from that region of France. And, while more & more of the world is going along with this, it is not universal worldwide, nor even in the US. Up until the semi-recent past, the term had no special meaning/protection in the US, it could basically be used to refer to (pretty much) any sparkling wine and certainly many (most?) producers called their products, "champagne."
About 5-10 years ago, however, the US "jumped on board" with the term applying only to those products originating in Champagne. There is, however, one major exception (that at least to some extent can swallow the rule), the US basically grandfathered the use of the term for those who were using it before the change went into effect (i.e. just about all the producers).
Now, even what I've said is somewhat simplified. For example: some states have specific rules, the US does require the "champagne" label to have the actual place of origin, the term "champagne method" may or may not also be protected, etc. And, generally speaking, as more & more wine regions (and producers) strive for recognition, naming your product with some regional identifier are more & more common (meaning "champagne" will be seen more & more only for "Champagne" products).
Beyond, that I agree that Napa & Sonoma will have more (better?) information or at least more direct, up-to-date, first hand knowledge. I can say that I did a tour in the late-80s and enjoyed it (don't remember the vineyard at all & think they may have actually gone under). Beyond the technical aspects, I really liked being able to do direct taste comparisons. I like many people drink champagne only a few times a year at most, never very frequently, and had kind of a "champagne is champagne" attitude. It was nice to do the side-by-side taste comparison where you're able to detect and compare the (relatively) slight variations in the attributes of the different types of "champagne."
Bottom Line: For most purposes in the US, "champagne" (small "c") is still widely used to refer to many sparkling wines, including on the label of the product. That said, it's on the way out, but I imagine it will be years (a generation?) before you find it *only* being used in the newer "proper" usage of referring to *only* those products from the Champagne region of France.
That's my $.05,
Thanks so much!!!
You may get more feedback in the Napa or Sonoma TA forum.
Yes, domain chandon is lovely with nice food.
I went to Korbel about 20 years ago and they were great, cuz they let you sample a variety of sparkling wines (maybe 6?), from the driest to the sweetest. I highly recommend them. The stone building is beautiful too.
J winery, just outside Healdsburg does some very nice tastings with some of their sparkling wines paired with food. They also do that for their still wines.
"J" is an excellent suggestion if you're in Sonoma -- Healdsburg/Russian River area.
Schramsburg is very special although it's gotten large and a bit corporate (which can be said about a lot of the Napa Valley). I recall when Jack Davies lived on the premises and gave the tours!
Domaine Chandon is nice.
Korbel has a lovely situation and a nice deli but I don't think there's anything special about their product.Edited: 01 June 2013, 00:48
Gloria Ferrer and Domaine Carneros, on my last visits, sold champagne (I think by the taste or half glass) but didn't have any free tastings. Both have beautiful settings, so I didn't mind paying to sip some bubbly on their terraces.
The tour at Gloria Ferrer is excellent.....