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Posted - 04/28/2011 08:52am
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LaMarca Prosecco, Gruet Rose, Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir & Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc


Grapes to Glass

wine education with

Chris Sawyer


 Damm, who doesnt like bubbles?!

I know I sure do, but I must say, as with so many things, there are good and there are, well lets say, not so good. Keep looking and I guarantee you will find bubles that will absolutely thrill you.


Chris Sawyer as always thrilled and amazed at this Grapes to Glass. The bubbles we tasted were all between $19 & $30 and easily sourced at most your local grocery stores or wine markets.

What we tasted:

LaMarca - Prosecco

Approx retail: $17

Refreshing, gets the palette going. Great spring n summer time.

From: Northern Italy, near Venice.

Nose: very nice, attractive, flowery

Taste: mineral, peach, melon, honeysuckle,

Alchohol: 11% - drink up!

An excellent Aperitif.

Pairs well with: Sushi


Gloria Ferrer - Blanc de Noir (mostly Pinot Noir)

Approx retail: $20

Amazing vineyards. Over 20 diff clones of pn n chard. Drank em under the table for the cuttings.

Nose: cherries. Red fruit.

Taste: creamy, cherry, lemon

Pairs: duck and a wide array of fish


Gruet - Rose  

Approx retail: $15

New Mexico, more skin contact to give it the pink color.  High elevation.

Nose: Cranberry plum a bit more closed nose.

Taste: cranberry, very dry

Pairs well with: meat accompanied with fruit compote & chutney , ham, pork


Schramsberg – 2007 Blanc de Blanc (Chardonnay only)

Approx retail: $36

President Nixon took this to china in the 60’s, made it famous. Great winery based in Napa Valley. Now they source fruit from many different areas, as we know Napa is not good for Pinot Noir in general.  They have a great tour in the Diamond Mountain AVA.  Chris Sawyer “One of my go to wines can serve this with just about anything.”

Nose: Sweet lemon & lime

Taste: Dry and Crisp, green apple, honeydew melon and lemon custard

Pairs well with: Ceviche, Lemon Chicken and Thai Curries


Cool stuff to know:

Brut= Blend

Blanc de Blanc = Chardonnay

Blanc de Noir = Blend, mostly Pinot Noir

Rose = Blend, with the rose color coming from leaving the Pinot Noir juice on the skin longer.

Le disgorged = Bubbles that were left on the yeast longer. Gives more texture and body, delicious!


Prosecco is the grape not the region. It is also not restricted to a certain region as in France where it for it to called Champagne, it must come from a specific area. Typically a lighter body

“Only for Celebrations” not true!

Sparkling wine in general goes well with salty foods & oysters, grilled meats, salads with vinaigrette.

Bad pairing: cake and bubbles. As in birthday celebrations, don’t make that rookie move!

Compared to still wine bubbles are usually non vintage unless the vintage is exceptional enough to claim that vintage.

Grapes used to make bubbles are usually the first grapes picked of the season - usually mid august. The reason for this early harvest is so the fruit is less ripe so its tart. Winemakers want high acid to produce bubbles.

A simple overview of making bubbles:

First a master blend of wine is made.

Fill up 95% of the bottle then drop a sugar cube & yeast then cap it. This creates the second fermentation, the bubbles.


How to be a pro at opening your bubbles:

Remove foil top.

Locate spinner on the cage.

Spin 5 ½ times, exactly.

Keep thumb and cage on. Turn cork pull out gently. Don’t pop – although I know its fun and I still do it often, that’s the kid in me.


By law 3 varieties used in champagne France; Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier & Chardonnay

Sparkling Wine - US

Champagne - France

Sec - german bubbles

Cava - spainish

Prosecco - Italy


Korbel has many different varietal bubbles in addition to the norm such as Pinot Gris, Riesling etc,

Ultimate temperature to serve it is mid 50's.


Chris Sawyer had dinner with Max Reidel. Max said “We are gonna move away from flutes” Flutes are the best visual presentation bubbles. But after all the fruit is Chard and Pinot so we are gonna move towards more of a burgundy style with a bigger bowl.

Gonna = going to

You can age sparkling wine. As it ages the bubbles slightly dissipate and more of the varietal characteristics show. Aged sparkling wine is something everybody should try at least once.

A bubbles  in America snapshot:

“Carneros AVA produces some of the best bubbles in America.”

Carneros - Domaine Carneros, Gloria Ferrer

RRV -  J Vineyards

Anderson Valley - Roederer

Santa Barbara - Laetitia Estate Wines

Oregon – Soter, Argyle.


Number one country to consume sparkling wine, Germany.


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