Wednesday, April 1, 2020

New video: Schramsberg's Hugh Davies

Schramsberg Vineyards President Hugh Davies joins me for an Intoxicating Conversation with W. Blake Gray, and this time it's literally true because we have two bottles open.

Schramsberg has a track record as the best U.S. producer of top-quality sparkling wine; I have been a fan for years.

The story of Hugh's parents Jack and Jamie Davies is very much the story of modern Napa Valley: they bought an abandoned winery on Diamond Mountain in the 1960s to make premium sparkling wine, and eventually discovered that while their land is special terroir, it's not great for sparkling wine grapes.

Among other things, Hugh and I talk about drinking, and selling, sparkling wine during a pandemic. We compare glassware and talk about how California has a flavor profile for sparkling wine that might be more approachable for many American drinkers than that of Champagne. I am not knocking Champagne; my wife and I just opened a bottle of that earlier this week. But U.S. sparkling wine has its own unique charms.

There's no blooper reel for these Intoxicating Conversations so here's a blooper confession. These conversations are unedited: we just power through whatever happens. In part this is because I am not a power user of the technology. When Hugh and I started the meeting, I couldn't hear him. He could hear me, but I couldn't hear him at all. He found a younger person at the winery (always a good idea when you have a technology problem) and she fiddled with many things on the computer, but still I couldn't hear.

Then I realized I had the volume on my own computer off. Ooops! The woman gave me a look like Billie Eilish at the Oscars. Well, no harm done, and Hugh and I had our conversation.

If you're interested in the wines we enjoy during the conversation, it's Schramsberg J Schram Brut 2010 (buy it here) and J. Davies Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (buy it here).

I hope you are enjoying these conversations. More are on the way!

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