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American Sparkling Wine Comes of Age

This gorgeous glass of bubbly, called J. Schram, was produced the same year Cooking Light was born, 1987, and then the wine snoozed for more than two decades in the cool, deep stone caves of Schramsberg winery in Napa Valley. It was poured in our studios in June and had tarnished from a clear-straw color to coppery-gold. It had the lovely aroma of bread dough and dried fruit and was slightly bitter, with toasted-nut and caramel flavors, a lively fine fizz and lots of zingy acid. Enough of the winespeak: It was delicious. The ability of a California sparkling wine to age as well as a French Champagne is a kind of victory lap for U.S. winemaking. Schramsberg is made on a property that first produced wine in the 1860s and was revived a century later by the Davies family to take a run at the French Champagne houses. Today, a number of the French houses make bubbly in California, but Schramsberg and the Davieses still rule—on top of their game.