In Santa Barbara County, the only place to taste a flight of sparkling wine every day is Riverbench Winery‘s tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara, or at the winery in Santa Maria Valley on Foxen Canyon Road. They make 8 different sparklers in the traditional Champagne method!
This method of making sparkling wine is the way it’s 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).
Read about their sparkling wines in their own words:
2018 Riverbench Extra Brut Sparkling Wine – With a hint of sweetness, this wine remains fresh, vibrant, and fun to drink.
2018 Riverbench Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine – Soft and lush, yet bright and fresh, this traditionally made sparkler is a beauty.
2017 Riverbench Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine – Deep, complex, and suitable for special occasions.
2018 Riverbench Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine – Fun, fresh, and fruity define this pretty blush sparkling wine made entirely of Pinot Noir.
2018 Riverbench Cork Jumper Cuvée Sparkling Wine – A unique and delicious blend of the three main grapes used in Champagne, France: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
2017 Riverbench Pinot Meunier Sparkling Wine – Santa Barbara County’s only sparkling Pinot Meunier exhibits a stunning palate of berry, caraway, and a touch of yeast.
2014 Riverbench Reserve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine – An extended tirage and extra time in barrel make this the most oxidized sparkling in our lineup, with hints of toasted hazelnut and marzipan.
2017 Riverbench Demi Sec Sparkling Wine – This sparkling wine is anything but sweet, and boasts integrated flavors of baked apple and vanilla ice cream.
From their Santa Maria-focused Chardonnay and Pinot Noir program to their certified sustainable farming practices, the quality here is really high. Perfect for Burgundy (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) lovers.
This winery is 1 of over 75 sparkling wine producers in Santa Barbara County.