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The Ever Evolving Napa

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There is so much to experience in Napa Valley, including delicious sparkling wines and surprising cocktails!

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The way to know a good sparkling is by its bubbles. The smaller they are the better it is. Tiny bubbles make exceptional sparkling wine and Champagne. In case you don’t know, you can only call bubbly wines Champagne when they come from France.

I am fond of sparkling wines and Champagne and I learned about Schramsberg, a favorite bubbly of mine, from my mother who was a well know culinary expert in the Midwest. It is rare to taste something so winsome and affordable at the same time.

I had the pleasure of going to their beautiful property and seeing the historic caves at Schramsberg. Who does not like starting the day off with a bit of bubbly?

The Schramsberg 2010 Blanc de Blanc is 100% Chardonnay. It pops with crisp apple and a tartness of lemon-lime; this sparkling wine wakes up the palette and goes perfectly with seafood. Schramsberg Rosé is very special, so if you see it, buy it! The 2009 Schramsberg Rosé is elevated fruit with a blend of 70% Pinot and 30% Chardonnay. The essence of strawberries swirl your palette. It is a lovely sparkling wine and fun to drink. Have it with pizza or BBQ, combine salty and sweet with this Rosé and you won’t go wrong. In fact no matter what it will always be a stand out of deliciousness.

J Schram 2005 is 86% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Noir. Fruit and sourdough round out the sweet tart berry element. J Schram lingers long on the palette. It is goes well with seafood such as lobster, caviar, salmon and even heavier seafood including scallops. Chicken with herbs would be complimented nicely with J Schram.

The 2005 J Schram Reserve is 74% Pinot Noir and 26% Chardonnay with flavors of stone fruit such as peaches and nectarines. This sparkling is weightier on the palette and would be divine with apple stuffed pork, lamb, venison or a mushroom risotto.

J Davies is 87% cabernet and 13% Malbec; it is 100% estate fruit. I am in Schramsberg heaven underground. There is dark cherry and tobacco that hits your palette and it continues to unfold. It will compliment any meal. You can drink it now or age it four to five years.

Schramsberg is over 151 years old. It has passed through multiple owners before it was sold to Jack Davies. He wanted to make a change from the LA lifestyle, and Napa and Schramsberg became his family’s new home. Sparkling wines were not being done in Napa in 1965 and Jack Davies and his wife Jamie were ahead of their time creating classic world-class Blanc De Blanc, sparkling wines.

Schramsberg has legendary stories of hand-dug caves, beautifully carved barrels, and meticulous crafting. The dedication, skill and love that goes into Schramsberg sparkling wines is extraordinary and the result … Fabulous.

In 1976, The Taste of Paris changed how people viewed California wines. The state department in 1972 ordered thirteen cases of Schramsberg, and not until the company went to deliver the sparkling wine did find out they were meeting Air Force One. Richard Nixon was the first President to use American wine in an official state function and it was Schramsberg.

When thinking bubbly do yourself a favor and experience Schramsberg and the variety of sparkling wines that Schramsberg beautifully crafts. If you want to learn more about Schramsberg, they have a 3-day Schramsberg camp! Check it out.

www.schramsberg.com

Where wine provides a captive audience in Napa Valley, it is a bold move to specialize in cocktails at your bar.

Goose and Gander in St. Helena, Napa Valley has something for everyone. This country house with a unique basement and charming patio are quite inviting. Before sharing about their rustic American food, I have to note their basement bar is filled with fresh cocktails and laughter. It’s quaint and definitely fun. They have a nice collection of wines, so no worries if you are not in the mood to experience a flirty cocktail. The bar is 24 feet long and when you arrive you see beautiful eatable flowers and herbs that they use in their cocktails. With over forty cocktails to choose from, plan to sit down, enjoy an appetizer and stay awhile.

To begin with you must have a bite… These are small plates of deliciousness such as crispy olives with roasted pistachios for only $6.00. We chose the roasted dates with Gorgonzola cheese; do I have to say more? For only $5.00, these guys know how to please their guests with rustic quality fare, innovative cocktails, wines from the area and affordable prices.

From seared day boat scallops with white truffle cream polenta and crispy pancetta and tiny red mizzuna, to roasted bone marrow with a parsley caper salad, tarragon mustard vinaigrette on grilled rustic bread, the variety of appetizers will please your palette. There are charcuterie and duck fat fries for heaven’s sake. Talk about sinfully good. Delicious arrays of one of kind salads are offered.

Their entrées hit home. My friend ate their meatballs, and they did not disappoint; she was quite pleased. Flavor is front and center. The pan-roasted chicken breast is served with a mustard Beurre blanc, rainbow carrots, roasted sweet onions and arugula. Your husband or date won’t have to eat something after this meal! Choose a Berkshire pork T-bone or Scottish salmon with the chef’s fresh ideas for sides… you will have much to choose from. The seasonal menu reflects the quality produced here.

The patio with live music is a must do and a great way to unwind on an afternoon… Try one of their original cocktails or a glass of wine and don’t forget to enjoy a bite.

www.goosegander.com

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