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Phifer Pavitt 2014 Sparkling Wine Los Carneros ($75)
Roederer Estate L’Ermitage 2012 Anderson Valley ($48)
This Mumm Napa Valley sparkling wine shows off its French roots with traditional-method production techniques: the thoughtful blending of base wines; a second fermentation in the bottle followed by lees aging for complexity; the disgorgement (removal) of the yeast; and the addition of dosage (wine and sugar) to balance out the bright acidity. The sparkling wine’s heart, however, is all Napa Valley with warm apple pie and pear creaminess, delivered on a crisp sip with fine bubbles.
Sipping this sparkling wine makes me think that no other bubbles are needed in the world except these. The red apple fruit and mineral character is bright, elegantly balanced with the refreshing acidity of the palate, so that each sip is a seamless taste of sparkling goodness. Rich, but not too rich; fresh, but not austere; the wine glides across the palate into a long, lingering finish. This is mastery of the sparkling brut style.