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DRINK – Bubbly base wine tasting

I went to a tasting of the base wine components that go into the sparkling wine, J Schram, made by Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley.  What’s a base wine?  Champagne and sparkling wines are usually blends of many many base wines, 50 to 60 in some cases.  Each component comes from a particular lot – say a block of a vineyard.  These base wines are fermented alone, and spend time either in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels before they are tasted by the winemakers to create the final blend.  By having so many base wines, or elements, the winemaker can ensure the consistency of the “house style.” The lineup had six base wines in it:  stainless-steel fermented Chardonnays; a Chard with no malolactic fermentation and a Chard with ML; a stainless steel fermented Pinot Noir and a barrel fermented Pinot. All bases wines are single vineyard designate. You don’t…