Innovation and imagination have driven around the world to experiment in making wine in styles and with varieties that may not be the norm, but when done with passion and care, can result in an amazing product. Producing a sparkling wine with the Roussanne grape was a new one for me. The Northern Rhone variety certainly has some similar characteristics to the classic variety of Champagne, Chardonnay, but traditionally it is used to produced still wines, often blended with Marsanne, in areas like Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. Understanding the potential of this floral, stone-fruit, and blanched almond filled wine, Sonoma’s Sosie Wines owners, Scott MacFiggen and Regina Bustamante, selected some of California’s only, and finest, Roussanne grapes to produce their traditional method sparkler.
Sosie Wines “First Things First” Sparkling Wine ($30) is produced from some of the only Roussanne in California, where the fruit ripens very late and somewhat uneven. After careful manual harvest in the coldest hours of the night, the fruit is fermented with native yeast, followed by full malolactic fermentation, giving a richness and concentration to the well-rounded, medium-bodied juice. After six months of oak aging, the wine goes through secondary fermentation in the bottle, to create the bubbles in the traditional method champenoise. The resulting sparkler is creamy and full-flavored, without being overly weighty. Very fresh, lush, and layered, the bubbly has a delicate effervescence, with floral honeysuckle, peach blossom, and lemon leaf, layered with creamy lemon curd, almond, and stone fruit.
A love of celebrating, bringing people together over a glass, sharing great food, wonderful stories, and an appreciation of life, is a motto I live by. At the core of Sosie Wines, they share many of the same beliefs, making their approachable, French-inspired wines so easy to enjoy.