San Luis Obispo Coastal Wine Region Boasts Twelve Sparkling Wine Producers
Did you know there are over 70 sparkling wine producers in San Luis Obispo County? And we have 12 of them right here on the SLO Coast Wine Trail!
An excerpt from Cali Coast Wine Country Sparkling Wine Maps (sparkling wine maps of all producers in Santa Barbara and SLO County):
“California Sparkling Wine can’t be called Champagne—it’s not from the Champagne region of France—but much of the SLO Coast Sparkling Wine is made in the same méthode traditionelle, or méthode champenoise, used in Champagne.
Another style many winemakers use is pétillant naturel, or natural bubbles, and is the oldest (and easiest) way to make sparkling wine—also called méthode ancestrale. Pét-nats differ from traditional Champagne production in that the wine is bottled before the fermentation is complete (so only 1 fermentation happens, partially in the bottle), no sugar or yeast is added for a second fermentation, and it’s usually unfiltered, and can be made from a multitude of grape varieties. It also takes a much shorter time than the traditional method, meaning more winemakers can get in on the bubbly action. Pét-nat’s bubbles typically don’t last as long as traditional sparkling wine, and the flavors can be all over the map, instead of the classic style and flavor profile you get from the traditional method.”
Check out these local sparkling wine producers in the SLO Coast Wine region, listed in order from points north to south.
Niner Wine Estates
Niner’s new 2016 Cuvée Brut Nature is a blend of 76% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay, made in the traditional style. It’s super dry and crisp, and perfect for any occasion. It should be in stock year-round at the winery in Paso Robles.
From Niner: “With the foggy mornings and coastal influence at our Jespersen Ranch vineyard, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay develop exceptionally beautiful flavor profiles perfect for making complex sparkling wine. In 2016, we picked a combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for this Cuvée. It was tirage-aged for two years before being disgorged and bottled on May 21st, 2019. ‘Brut Nature”‘ refers to the fact that we added zero sugar with the dosage – we believe that keeping the expression pure was the best was to create a lively and complex iteration of our coastal vineyard site.”
Cutruzzola makes several sparkling wines—in such small-batch quantities that they don’t have them year-round. Right now, get their 2019 classic Blanc de Noir. It’s made from Pinot Noir sourced from our Riven Rock Vineyard in Cambria and Stone Corral Vineyard in Edna Valley. Fine bubbles elevate aromas of red-fruited Pinot Noir. On the palate, interesting tropical fruits emerge and are paired with lively acidity.
(When their Sparkling pét-nat Riesling is available, it is for wine club only.)
Stephen Ross Wine Cellars
This 2019 Blanc De Noir is Steve’s first venture into sparkling wine, and in classic style he went Méthode Traditionelle and the wine is lean and clean. It was disgorged in August and is perfect for the holidays! Buy it at the Stephen Ross Wine Cellars tasting room in San Luis Obispo.
Baileyana Wines has a sparkler out for the holidays: Brut Rose 100% Pinot Noir. The 2018 Baileyana Brut Rose is fresh and fruity and with hints of red berries and candy fruit. Balanced structure, richness, and elegance.
The newest addition to our Sparkling Trail is this 2018 cuvée, produced in the traditional Methode Champenoise sparkling wine. Wolff Vineyards pressed Chardonnay grapes with early ripeness from their estate vineyard’s 45 year-old vines. This is rare in California!
This blanc de blancs follows a Champagne production process which includes primary fermentation from 100% Estate Chardonnay fruit, inoculated with a secondary fermentation lees aged in the bottle, riddling, disgorgement of the yeast plug, dosage and final corking after two years. The end result provides crisp fruity flavors with a creamy palate and youthful elegance. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
Biddle Ranch Vineyard
Biddle Ranch also has traditional-style non-vintage sparkling wine, made entirely from Chardonnay grown in Edna Valley, year-round.
From Cali Coast Wine Country: “This wine could easily be called a Blanc de Blancs: the classic Champagne style made only from white wine grapes in the Champagne region of France. This wine should satisfy any Champagne lover with its yeasty notes, flavors of tart green apple, fine bubbles, and crisp, elegant finish. It’s clean, with just a hint of almond, and absolutely delicious.”—Liz Dodder
This Sparkling Lagrein Rosé pét-nat can be purchased at Piedra Creek’s estate vineyard tasting area or online.
Tasting Notes from the winery: Abundant aromas of strawberry, guava and exotic fruits. Hints of red berry supported by bright, well-balanced acidity comprise the body, followed by a clean crisp finish.
Center of Effort
Center of Effort has just released a Sparkling Rosé from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir called EFFORTVESENCE – the first Méthode Traditionelle sparkling wine from Center of Effort. This exceptional wine, over two years in the making, perfectly highlights our estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and continues our commitment to quality wines and sustainable farming here in the Edna Valley.
From the winery: “Pale pink in color with small persistent bubbles, EFFORTvesence is clean and modern in style, showing freshness and energy. Green apple, pomegranate and floral notes finishing lively and fresh on the palate.”
At Sinor-Lavallee, Mike Sinor has been making sparkling wine in the pét-nat method since 2016, when he released his first Ancestrale, named after this age-old method of making bubblies. Each year, you can find something different and fun as Mike experiments with all natural frizzante sparklers.
The original Ancestral Pét-Nat Sparkling Pinot Noir is sold out, but this year’s sparkler is 2020 Soirée Du Gris, made from Pinot Gris in the spirit of vinho verde. This means it was picked early (when the grapes are almost still green) and delivers crispness to the palate, with flavors of green apple, pear and jasmine.
Laetitia Vineyards & Winery
Originally known for Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines, Laetitia continues to produce seven unique Sparkling Wines. The vineyard site was specifically chosen by the French 30+ years ago to grow Chardonnay grapes that remained acidic, delicate and fresh with green apple and citrus characters – everything you want for making sparkling wine. And that philosophy continues today with these current releases:
- Non-Vintage Laetitia Brut Cuvée
- 2017 Laetitia Brut Rosé
- 2017 Laetitia Brut Coquard
- 2017 Laetitia Brut de Noirs
Laetitia Vineyards & Winery is the only winery in the SLO Coast Wine Region that always offers a bubbly flight, as well as a Sparkling Only Wine Club.
Saucelito Canyon has released a Sparkling Blanc de Blancs from Chardonnay, only for club members.
Chamisal Vineyards makes a traditional sparkling wine, produced in a lightly oxidative style. It features notes of honey, apples, citrus zest and white flowers on the nose. On the palate, the wine is fresh, zippy, and bright with layers of pear and biscuit notes and a slick of minerality on the finish that serves as a reminder of the calcareous soils found in our estate that are not too dissimilar to the limestone and chalk soils found in Champagne.