If you like pinot noir, you’ll love Gloria Ferrer’s wines.
Gloria Ferrer is the California winery created by the Spanish Ferrer family, owners of Freixenet, Spain’s largest cava wine company.
In 1982, Jose and Gloria Ferrer fulfilled a family dream when they purchased a 160-acre cattle and sheep ranch in Sonoma County’s Carneros area. They planted 75 percent of the estate with pinot noir and the remainder with chardonnay, the two principal grapes of Champagne. Four years later, they produced the first sparkling wine made in Carneros.
Over the years, I’ve tasted Gloria Ferrer’s sparkling wines and always enjoyed them. Yet, with so many wines in the marketplace, it’s easy to forget an old friend. A few weeks ago, I tasted the latest Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs nonvintage and was particularly pleased to realize the wine is better than ever.
Winemaker Steven Urberg makes the sparkling wine from 92 percent pinot noir and 8 percent chardonnay. Included in the 92 percent is a small amount of still pinot noir that gives this full-bodied, flavorful sparkling wine a faint pink tint and a delicious raspberry tang. The Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs nonvintage is a savory aperitif or a perfect match with spicy Asian dishes. And the price has its own appeal: about $18 for the bottle and $10 the half-bottle.
As much as I enjoyed the Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine, I was even more pleased with the 2010 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir.
In 1991, Gloria Ferrer began making pinot noir and chardonnay wines, in addition to its sparkling wines. Last week, I happily drank the 19th edition.
Like a painter facing a canvas with palette and brush in hand, Urberg selects from a variety of pinot noir clones planted in 11 soil types spread across 335 acres of estate vines at various elevations to make his Carneros pinot noir.
Though many California winemakers produce an overly fruity, oak-infused and alcoholic wine, Urberg’s Carneros pinot noir has California’s body and concentrated black cherry and strawberry flavors, but without the offensive vanilla aromas and flavors from excessive oak aging and palate-fatiguing 14.5 to 15.5 percent alcohol content.
The 2010 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir jettisons the obese New World style, while building on a learner Burgundian structure. Its savory fruit has a backbone of acidity and integrated tannins, and the 13.5 percent alcohol allows you to have an additional glass of this refreshing and well-balance pinot noir.
Urberg has a degree in chemistry, but his winemaking shows he can be artful, too. The 2010 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir is a very reasonable $25.