healthy vine (left), frost damaged (right)

French Champagne houses announced today that anywhere between 8% – 18% of their Chardonnay grape vines and 15% – 20% of their Pinot Noir grape vines have been heavily damaged due to frost.

Because there is still time for new bud break, the ultimate effect on the harvest is not yet known but looks to drop the supply of Champagne worthy grapes by a large amount. This could help sales of California sparkling wines as Champagne prices rise and supply shrinks.

Over the past 10 years, many of the French Grand Cru houses have established houses in the Anderson Valley and in Carneros.  Native California houses have also proliferated over this time.  While the wine produced by these houses are still far less prestigious than the big boys in France, they are beginning to make a name for themselves.

To start the promotion of what could be a good year for sparklers, here’s a review of a new favorite.

J Vineyards Brut Rosé NV 

DdV: 90
WS: 89
WA: n/a
Price: $25.00 – $30.00
Blend: 64% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier
Source: Russian River Valley, California

Trust me, this is more than just a cool looking bottle.  I found this on sale at the supermarket for $18 and took a gamble.  Winner!  This is a fantastic sparkler that has many of the same qualities we told you about in the resurgent California Rosé wines (see our report here).

The color is simply beautiful, with crisp effervescent berry and bright citrus notes.  A quick hit of mineral and a long finish make this a pure treat to drink by itself but will pair perfectly with shellfish (grilled oysters will sing with this) and creamy cheeses.