Sparkler of the week: the Roederer Estate, NV Anderson Valley Brut
As we uncork bubbly next week, we’re not just celebrating the annual ritual of welcoming a new year; we’re racing to 2021. We’re eager to step out of 2020, the unprecedented year when chaos became the new normal, when grappling with the pandemic and the wildfires brought worry and hardship.
“It was indeed a very stressful year for everybody,” said Arnaud Weyrich, winemaker of Mendocino County’s Roederer Estate. “Being a firefighter, a nurse or working in agriculture created daunting challenges. As we mourn the people we lost, I think that for our own mental sanity we need to look at the positive things around us and celebrate life. Some joy and positive thinking will go a long way as we pop these corks.”
Weyrich is behind our sparkler of the week — the Roederer Estate, NV Anderson Valley Brut, 12.5%, $28. The caliber of this sparkler is extremely impressive, and it has a nice price tag too, for celebrating the new year. The nutty, toasty aromas follow through on the palate, adding notes of green apple and lemon. Buoyed by bright acidity, the pinpoint bubbles offer a nice mousse.
Other tasty sparklers, at a range of price points, include: Benovia, 2017 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Blanc de Blancs, 12%, $50; DVX, 1212 Napa Valley Sparkling Wine, 12.5%, $75; Flaunt, 2017 Russian River Valley Brut, 12.5%, $48; Iron Horse Brut LD, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, 13.5%, $110; Le Reve by Taittinger, 1213 Carneros, 12%, $120, and Schramsberg, 2016 Blanc de Noirs, 12.8%, $43. Also delicious are Frank Family Vineyards, 2014 Napa Valley Carneros, Blanc de Blancs, 12%, $55; Gloria Ferrer, 2010 Carneros Cuvee, 12.5%, $80; J, 2014 Blanc de Blancs, 12.5%, $80, and Sea Smoke, 2014 Sea Spray, Sta. Rita Hills, Sparkling Wine, 12%, $90.
An uplifting toast or two will no doubt see us through the trials we endured, Weyrich said.
“The vision at the start of harvest was pretty gloomy with a heat wave, the virus, then the fires,” he said. “The epiphany is that we prepared for the worst and it worked for the most part. It was difficult, but we made it through harvest.”
One upside, Weyrich said, is that the challenges of 2020 moved the wine industry into the world of digital technologies at an accelerated pace.
“There was a big learning curve,” he said. “Hopefully some of these digital tools will remain and help alleviate some of the future travel associated with carbon footprints. At Roederer Estate, we had to learn a lot about new ways to keep our people safe on the job, new ways to sell wine and new ways to communicate via digital tools. It was a year of learning, and the small successes kept us going.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-521-5310.
Wine, The Press Democrat
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