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My July Wine of the Month

Gloria Ferrer
2005 Brut Royal Cuvée
66% Pinot Noir
34% Chardonnay

José and Gloria Ferrer, owners of the successful Spanish Cava producer Freixenet, established Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in 1986.  This was the first sparkling wine house to open in California’s famous Carneros region.  The Carneros AVA is actually located in both Napa and Sonoma counties, with Gloria Ferrer sitting solely in Sonoma County.  The winery uses their Spanish traditions and centuries-old winemaking practices to create some wonderful sparkling and still wines.

The inaugural vintage of “Royal Cuvée” was first served to King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain during their visit to California in 1987.  It has since been poured at the White House, and consistently receives very good ratings with the many wine publications.  Not to dwell on ratings, because I believe YOUR nose and palate are what counts, this ’05 vintage received 91 points from Wine Spectator and 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.   This is impressive for a $30 to $35 bottle of sparkling wine.

The Wine – Gloria Ferrer’s Brut Royal Cuvée has long been one of my favorites, and the 2005 is absolutely lovely.  On the nose are apple, raspberry, brioche and a touch of ginger.  The palate begins with a pleasant eruption of bubbles and acidity, followed by lemon curd, apple and pear.  It is well balanced and has a nice foamy mousse and creamy mouth feel.  It paired beautifully with some Brie cheese I was enjoying, and definitely shows characteristics of both the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay grapes used in this well made bubbly!

Visiting the Winery – Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is always our first stop when visiting Napa and Sonoma.  This is not the typical California tasting room.  Here you actually purchase a glass (or bottle!) of sparkling or still wine at the bar when you walk in.  You then head outside to sit at a table and a friendly tasting room attendant brings the wine out to you. They serve you these really yummy, spiced almonds and you sit on their patio and look at the UNBELIEVABLY gorgeous view of the vineyards and the valley.  It’s always a great way to start the Wine Country experience.

The Journey – Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is located 40 miles north of San Francisco at the southern tip of Sonoma County.  It’s the perfect first stop from the San Fran airport heading into either Napa or Sonoma.  They are located right on Carneros Highway 121.  This is also called Arnold Drive, which is the street name you should plug into your GPS.  Once you pull onto their driveway you will have a lovely drive through the vineyards, with their expansive winery awaiting you above.  In my opinion, this is a must visit spot on any Napa/Sonoma adventure!

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If you see this wine in your favorite wine store, be sure to grab some!

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