Hot off the press

Harvest 2011 is on! Crush commenced at Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., on Aug. 29 with pinot noir grapes from the Richburg Vineyard in Carneros. These grapes are destined for greatness, be it in the 2011 Blanc-de-Noirs, which will be released in four years, or the 2011 Reserve in eight. In that time, second-generation winemaker Hugh Davies will craft them into some of America’s finest domestic sparkling wine.

Visiting Las Vegas this week to lead a blind tasting (his 2007 Reserve placed first), Davies reports that harvest 2011 is in full swing, with more than 60 percent of the pinot noir harvested. “It should be a fantastic year,” Davies says. “This is about as good as we can have.” From the 2007—“a classic California vintage”—expect a nectarine and peach nose, and Rainier cherry on the palate as well as fresh sourdough bread and a long finish with a “snappy” acidity. These sparklers will cellar well, Davies explains—20, 30, perhaps even 40 years into the future. “The wines from the ’80s sure taste good now.”