My family came up to visit me this past weekend and we took a trip to wine country. [Disclaimer: I am no connoisseur in wine, the information I'm presenting here is the information that I remember from the tour.]
While we were in Napa Valley, we took a tour at Mumm Napa, where they pride themselves in making sparkling wine with la méthode traditionnelle, or the traditional method that is used in the Champagne region of France. In other words, their sparkling wine is basically the same as "real" champagne. La méthode traditionnelle creates sparkling wine with very small bubbles, which is ideal and is one of the key characteristics of Mumm Napa's wines. One of the big differences is in the grapes that they use. They use the traditional three varieties, pinot meunier, chardonnay, pinot noir, plus pinot gris, which is not so traditional. They make 15 different kinds of wine, using a variety of blends of those four grapes. There was a lot more I learned about the process and what not, but I don't want to bore you with all the technical aspects.
During the tastings, I had some of their juice because I'm not of drinking age yet. I must say, their sparkling juices were amazing. On my first sip, I drank it like I would normal juice, just straight. However, I realized that I wasn't getting the full flavor profile. After swishing the juice around in my mouth, I was pleasantly surprised. The juice had a very full-bodied grape flavor without being overbearingly sweet. I let my family taste it and some of them said they preferred the juice to the sparkling wine itself.
Here are some photos I took during my visit.