The sparkling Albariño from Carboniste makes for the perfect springtime aperitif. (photo by Sylvie)

Jacqueline Person, formerly a winemaker at Naked Wines, and Dan Person, formerly at Schramsberg, had long appreciated the charms of the Spanish grape varietal Albariño. But the couple really put their affection into action in 2017, when they launched Carboniste, a label whose goal was to produce California’s first sparkling iteration. The result is a delightful, out-of-the-box choice for the sunnier days of Spring.

The wine is made in Napa but the grapes come from the Gomes Vineyard, located on Andrus Island in the nutrient-rich Sacramento River Delta. Cultivated by the Gomes family since the late 1800s, the property was planted with rootstock from Rias Baixas, a region on the border of Portugal and Spain (and the birthplace of Albariño).

(photo courtesy of Carboniste)

The fruit is pressed full-cluster and the juice is then settled. First fermentation is completed after three weeks and then fresh yeast and sugar is added to the remaining sediment. Eschewing the traditional use of cork and cage, the bottles are then topped with a crown bottle cap. This is a wine truly inspired by the terroir of California. 21,000 bottles were made for the 2019 release.

2019 Gomes Vineyard Sparkling Albariño ($28.00)

Crisp and refreshing, with pleasant aromas of stone fruit and strawberries and just a hint of yeast. Freshness surrounds the palate with dry acidity and hints of honeysuckle. The bubbles are very refined and the citrus notes are amazingly well-integrated. It would pair nicely with soft-rind cheese, sushi, smoked fish and grilled octopus.