Etude Winery, based in Napa, built its reputation producing a range of fine Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons, but they recently branched out to produce their first sparkling wine. Made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes drawn exclusively from the Grace Benoist Ranch vineyards in Carneros, this sparkler pours pale straw in color. The nose is bright, complex, and inviting with ripe peach and strawberry notes intermingling with gentle lemon and bit of yeast. Taking a sip, the palate proves a bit more restrained but quite approachable. Ample small bubbles come first, followed by peach and strawberry, which are joined by a touch of toast and high acidity that brings a lemon citrus note. The wine has a creamy mouthfeel, and the finish is fairly long and quite lovely as the flavors slowly fade. Between the bubbles and the acidity, this wine shows excellent structure and the flavors heighten as the wine warms and as you take additional sips. This drinks much like Champagne but has a pleasant fruitiness that is distinctly California. I really enjoyed this sparkling wine, which was complex and layered yet simply delightful.
A- / $60/ etudewines.com