When the French monk Dom Pérignon first tried champagne in the seventeenth century, he is rumored to have cried, "Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!" Whether or not he spoke these exact words, anyone who has tried sparkling wine knows the magical dance of bubbles across their tongue, that unique combination of flavor and texture that announces something special has arrived. It's no wonder we use sparkling wines to celebrate momentous events and achievements! Our boutique Napa Valley hotel at SENZA has hosted any number of weddings, gatherings, and special meals, and we are always happy to hear the cheerful pop and hiss of a newly opened bottle.
But sparkling wine isn't only for special occasions – or at the very least, it's the kind of wine that can turn a relaxed afternoon or lazy brunch into its own kind of celebration. Here in Napa Valley, we are lucky to have a number of local producers who make fine sparkling vintages, many of which are an easy visit from the SENZA Hotel. Join us below for a virtual tour of some of our favorite sparkling wineries in Napa Valley, to learn more about the magic they can bring to your Napa Valley wine tasting vacation.
Schramsberg, 1400 Schramsberg Rd, Calistoga CA 94515, (707) 942-4558
Schramsberg has a special place in the history of Napa Valley. The original estate was founded by German immigrant Jacob Schram, who had wine caves dug from a two-hundred acre property on Mt. Diamond in 1870 – the same caves that still serve the winery today. For years, the winery produced a variety of bottlings (some of which were served to President Harrison!) but it shut down in 1912. Though the property was declared an "Historical Monument" in the 1950s, it wasn't until Jack and Jamie Davies purchased the land in 1965 that the winery was restored, and ultimately grown into the lauded, sustainable operation we know and love today.
Visitors can get up-close and personal with Napa Valley wine country's history by visiting the caves for a tour and tasting, only a quick trip away from SENZA Hotel. For truly dedicated aficionados, the winery offers "Camp Programs" where visitors stay for three days to participate either in harvest (the fall) or blending (the spring). These programs are unique in the world, and demonstrate the Davies family's dedication to wine education and to the communities winemaking (and drinking!) can create. Don't miss the famous Brut Rose, a star among the stellar line-up of sparkling wines; the winery also produces acclaimed Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons for the red-wine lovers on your wine tour.
Mumm Napa, 8445 Silverado Tr, Rutherford CA 94573, (707) 967-7700
Mumm Napa offers visitors to the Napa Valley the perfect blend of Old World and New! Started as a branch of the leading champagne producer in France – G. H. Mumm – the Napa branch of the Old World vanguard was founded in 1976 by Guy Devaux, who was sent by the French company to scout the best vineyard land in the Napa Valley. Soon, the winery was producing world-class sparkling wines, a legacy carried on today by winemaker Ludo Dervin. Trained overseas in the Champagne region of France, as well as throughout California, Dervin uses traditional methods of sparkling wine production to create uniquely Californian cuvees. Some of the fruit used in Mumm bottlings include grapes from the Devaux Ranch Vineyard, which you can learn more about in the video below.
You can sample these gorgeous, delicate wines at the Mumm Napa estate, about fifteen minutes from SENZA Hotel. Enjoy the relaxed ambiance of the patio with table service tastings, or in the salon in the Visitor's Center, where guests can also explore changing exhibitions of fine art photography. For a reserve flight, guests enjoy seated experiences on the Oak Terrace (seasonally – in winter months, this menu may be served in the Devaux Lounge). Or for a truly intimate look at Mumm's offerings and production facilities, take a guided tour of the winery with flute in hand!
Chandon, One California Dr, Yountville CA 94599, (888) 242-6366
Named Domestic Winery of the Year in 2018 at the International Wine & Spirits Competition: Sommelier Challenge, Chandon is a favorite with visitors and locals alike! The grounds are gorgeous, and known for the sprawling, park-like ambiance. (And they're located less than ten minutes from SENZA!) Combined with the outstanding wine tastings on offer, as well as food pairings, classes, and regular events, Chandon is not unlike a neighborhood hub that embraces the best qualities associated with sparkling wine – vivaciousness, celebration, and the communal spirit of happy gatherings!
You can opt for a tasting, or to purchase wine by the glass and enjoy it slowly on the lush, green spaces around the Visitor's Center, where a terrace and nearby ponds lend the space a romantic sense of secrecy. The tasting room offers a variety of flights, but guests can opt for tailored, hosted experiences, or food pairings for group reservations. Among the winery's more unique offerings is the "cocktail party," where guests both learn about (and sample!) Chandon's sparkling wines, but also learn to make three different cocktails built around the bottlings. You'll also want to keep an eye on the event calendar before you visit, although Happy Hour Fridays are held every week! Whenever you visit, don't miss your chance to try one of Chandon's lauded bottlings made by head winemaker Pauline Lhote, who at thirty-four years old is already working her thirteenth harvest!
For a truly elegant outing, visitors to Napa Valley cannot miss the palatial grounds – and luxurious flavors – of Domaine Carneros. The estate itself is a well-known local landmark, and who can resist the twin staircases and lush landscaping of the château? To make the most of your visit, opt for a behind-the-scenes tour of the estate and the winemaking facility, which includes both a sparkling tasting, and seated tasting of the estate's red wine offerings. This is a great way to learn more about the classic winemaking process for sparkling wines, known as méthode traditionnelle.
The wines all come from the Carneros region, and are made almost entirely from estate vineyards. These sustainably-farmed vineyards are spread over five ranches, all within four miles of the château, making Domaine Carneros the perfect place to taste the Napa Valley landscape! In the Daily Tasting, guests can select several wines to try, and augment their flight with light pairings; several Elevated Experiences take pairings to a new level! For truly special occasions, like small groups, proposals, and anniversaries, you can rent the Sparkling Suite for an experience you and your party will never forget!
Here at SENZA, we can't wait to celebrate Napa Valley with you on your wine tasting vacation -- cheers!