Best of the Best 2012: Domestic White Wines: Schramsberg 2004 J. Schram
Schramsberg was founded in 1862 by a tenacious German immigrant named Jacob Schram, who planted vineyards in the Napa Valley town of Calistoga. By the 1880s, he had built a winery, which Robert Louis Stevenson mentioned in his travel writings. In the post-Prohibition era, the vineyard and winery came into the hands of businessman Jack Davies, who, by the mid-1960s, had restored the property and set out to convince the world that California could compete with Europe in producing fine sparkling wines. The excellent J. Schram—blended from the very finest Chardonnay produced in each vintage—has set the standard for this style of wine in the New World. The Schramsberg 2004 J. Schram (www.schramsberg.com, $100) is beautifully structured with layered flavors of apple pie, brioche, fresh pear, and candied ginger.