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2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa

Mumm Napa has been making sparkling wines in concert with Carlos Santana for several years now. 100% of Santana’s proceeds from the sales go to agencies helping to prevent and/or remedy youth substance abuse. One of the non-profits involved is his own Milagro Foundation which has given more than $5 million to benefit youth’s around the world since it’s founding in 1998.

The first wine he worked on with Mumm—Santana consults on the dosage—was the NV Santana Brut ($50), now an annual release. In May of this year, the 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé was added. The good news, from a charitable standpoint, is that the wine has sold out. The bad news for you is that the wine has sold out. I say this because I just opened a bottle and it’s delicious.

supernatural-rose2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa is striking to look at with hundreds of tiny bubbles flying up through the pastel pink wine. Fresh, incisive notes of strawberry, raspberry and green apple on the nose are softened by toasted brioche and peach skin. The palate is clean and gently crisp with flavores of strawberry, raspberry, tangerine pith and green apple. The tangerine and apple aspects last throughout the lengthy, dry finish. This is a versatile sparkler, crisp enough for an aperitif and sufficiently flavorful to accompany a meal but also just soft enough to enjoy on it’s own. Drink now through 2016. Highly Recommended

If you didn’t manage to get a bottle for yourself there are other bubbles you can drink for the cause. This year’s release of Santana Brut is still available as is a brand new wine, the 2007 Santana Supernatural Brut ($60). The wines are available directly from Mumm Napa, in person and online.

2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa

Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: now through 2016
Release Date: May, 2013

Closure: Cork
Retail Price: $65.00

Winemaker: Ludovic Dervin
Blend: 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay

Origin: Napa Valley
Alcohol: 12.5%

Interpreting my wine ratings


Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

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This article is original to Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

J Vineyards Cuvée 20 Sparkling Wine NV

Sparkling wine is the wine of celebration and romance. Everything about sparkling wine makes it special — the shape of the bottle, the decorative foil, the sound it makes when opened and the steady stream of tiny bubbles rising in the center of the glass, not to mention decades of brilliant marketing by the Champagne industry.

Countless movies and TV shows reinforce the symbolism of sparkling wine. Opening a bottle kicks off the celebration or begins the seduction. It marks the transition between “I do” and the wedding reception. Sparkling wine underscores formality and elegance at fancy dress parties. An empty bottle laying on its side in a hotel room almost guarantees that the next shots will be of rumpled sheets and lingerie on the floor.

Good bubbly is more than just a symbol though, more than a trigger for us to be festive. It is good wine. It is versatile wine. Sparkling wine is appealing as an aperitif, delightful with hors d’oeuvres, awesome with oysters and marvelous throughout a meal. We should allow ourselves the “luxury” of sparkling wine more often. Decent Champagne may be too expensive, but there are good bottles of California sparkling wine available at very reasonable prices.

J Vineyards Cuvée 20 is pale gold in the glass with a plethora of small bubbles that rise quickly through the center of the wine. The attractive nose features lemon, bruised apple, honey, baking spice and fresh dough. The palate is “extra dry” with a pleasant but slightly coarse mousse. Flavors include green and red apples, apple skin, pear, and baking spice (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg). The finish is generous and clean.

If you’re looking to enjoy good sparkling wine without busting your budget, J Vineyards Cuvée 20 is a great option. It has enough fruit to be easily approachable but the complexity brought by aging on the yeast keeps it interesting. It is not as dry as might be ideal for a traditional aperitif, but that will make it a better alternative to cocktails for some people. The slight sweetness definitely ensures harmony with food, though it is not nearly sweet enough to go with desserts. Serve it cold. The J Vineyards Cuvée 20 is an excellent value, espeically if you can find it for less than $20 as I did. Drink now through 2012. Recommended.

J-RRVCuvee20NVBrutJ Vineyards Cuvée 20 Sparkling Wine NV (non-vintage)
Rating: Recommended

Drink: Now through 2012
Retail Price: $22.00
Winemaker: George Bursick
Blend: 48% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Noir, 2% Pinot Meunier
Origin: Russian River Valley

Aging: 25% of the cuvée is oak-aged. The blended wine is aged in bottle on its lees for 3 years after secondary fermentation. It ages an additional 6 months in bottle after disgorging and dosage.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Sweetness: Extra Dry, 1.5% (15 g/l) residual sugar [The maximum allowable sugar content for “Brut” Champagne was dropped from 1.5% to 1.2% by the European Economic Community in July, 2009. That doesn’t necessarily impact American wines that won’t be exported to Europe, but I will use the EC standards for Champagne here for consistency and ease of comparison.]

Closure: Cork
Production: 22,800 cases

This wine was purchased for review at Safeway.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. Photo courtesy of J Vineyards. All rights reserved.