One of the original sparkling wine makers in Santa Barbara County using the traditional method to make bubbles — méthode champenoise — was Flying Goat Cellars.
Méthode Champenoise is how sparkling wine is made in the Champagne region of France, also called méthode traditionnelle or classique. This is the highest-quality and most labor-intensive way to make sparkling wine. It involves bottling the still wine with additions of sugar and yeast after a first fermentation, ensuring a second fermentation happens in the bottle, trapping the bubbles inside. It then goes through aging (and periodic turning of the bottles to force the lees to the neck of the bottle), until it’s ready for dégorgement (to get these lees out) and dosage (to finish the wine).
Norm Yost and Kate Griffith have been picking early, fermenting grapes, providing the proper environment for a second fermentation in the bottle and disgorging in the Lompoc wine ghetto since 2005. Flying Goat is one of the few bubbles producers in the county to master handcrafting sparkling wine at its own facility, where every step of production is done in-house. Norm’s been a Pinot Noir maker, drinker and fanatic since landing in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1979. But for him, the Sta. Rita Hills‘ and Santa Maria Valley’s high acidity, low sugars, and great flavors were perfect for sparkling wine.
Flying Goat opens a weekend Bubbles Bar in their tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, where you can taste all 5 of their stellar sparkling wines. Sounds like you need a road trip to Santa Barbara’s OG of sparkling wine!
Goat Bubbles Details from their site:
- Goat Bubbles Rosé – This sparkler offers a lovely salmon color and frisky bubbles for your visual enticement. Enjoy the aromas of sun kissed orange, unripe strawberries, Jolly Rancher watermelon on the nose and hints of fresh croissant on the palate. You’ll find the 2017 Rosé is more complex and elegant than previous vintages.
- Blanc de Blancs – Notice the super fine bubbles dancing in the glass while notes of citrus blossom, Anjou pear and almond essence tantalize the nose. Wet granite and salinity, with hints of yellow grapefruit and Key lime pie, envelop the palate.
- Blanc de Noirs, Bien Nacido vineyard – Like a string of pearls on fragile lace, the bubbles reflect a delicate luminescence in your glass. Antique white in color, this sparkler is perfect for special occasions or just because…. Enjoy subtle hints of blood orange, apricot and cashew on the nose. The palate delights with flavors of marizpan complemented by tangy fruit. This rich, well balanced sparkling wine is quite refreshing on the palate.
- Blanc de Noirs, Ampelos vineyard – Liquid gold in color, this crisp sparkler with zero dosage shows hints of stone fruit on the palate. Enjoy the delightful aromas of dried apricot and peach, as well as roasted almond on the nose.
- Brut Cuveé – Delicious and race ready to drink upon release! Watch the orderly march of ascending bubbles. The golden color is reminiscent of a D’Anjou pear. Enjoy hints of kumquat and pear on the palate. The acidity and backbone of Chardonnay shine through on this elegant sparkler. The wine is mesmerizing like the Golden Fleece, a symbol of authority and kingship.
- Goat Bubbles Crémant – The pearlescent color and tiny bubbles lure you into this lean expression of Cremant. Hints of blue agave and green Anjou pear entice the nose and palate. Soft caramel and bright acidity delight you to the finish.
This winery is 1 of over 70 sparkling wine producers in Santa Barbara County.