If you know about the crafting of champagne, you understand it is a special wine that is a labor of love. And that is why our sparkling cuvée was named for Isabelle Adolphin Pearce, beloved mother of Al Scheid. Like the hands-on, no-shortcuts-allowed méthode champenoise way we produce our sparkler, Isabelle was old school through and through. Something "store bought" wasn’t worth nearly as much as something that was lovingly made by hand, whether it was an intricately crocheted afghan, a faux red fur coat for her granddaughter, or her melt-in-your-mouth pot roast. She firmly believed that busy hands make a happy heart and she lived by those words by working hard and taking care of others her entire life. Our 2011 Isabelle Sparkling Wine is an elegant and complex cuvée in a Brut style, with lively fruit, crisp acidity and a toasty creaminess. Here’s to Isabelle, much loved and greatly missed.
Great sparkling wine is made from grapes grown in only the coolest climates, where the delicate aromas and natural acidity are preserved. Monterey County, with morning fogs that often linger until mid-day, possesses the just-right conditions to place it on par with the best growing regions of the world for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We carefully farm specific estate vineyard rows throughout the year that epitomize intensity, complexity and structure. These grapes are carefully hand-harvested into small bins and transported promptly to the winery. The 2011 growing season was even longer than most in Monterey County, with cool summer temperatures delaying the vines and slowing ripening. Although cooler than normal, the weather held throughout the long summer and we picked the second week of September, almost three weeks later than typically.
Isabelle is produced in the traditional méthode champenoise. Primary fermentation was done slowly and at cold temperatures to enhance the varietal aromatics and preserve the natural delicate character. Next, the cuvée was bottled with sugar and yeast, and a secondary fermentation proceeded in the bottle. The carbon dioxide that would normally be released was trapped in the bottle, producing the sparkle and bubbles. The wine was aged on the yeast lees and riddled, a sharp shake and twist of the bottle that allows the lees to dislodge and settle in the neck of the bottle. After aging for 46 months on the lees, the sediment collected in the bottle neck was frozen to form a “plug” and disgorged. The sparkling wine was quickly corked to maintain the effervescence and voilà! Zee Isabelle is born!