Winemaker Dustin Battaion noticed something missing in Livermore: a winery exclusively devoted to sparkling wine. “No one else was doing it,” says Battaion, so he and his wife, Chandra, decided to start their own operation. Battaion Cellars—which is on Lupin Way and draws fruit from Livermore and the Santa Maria Valley—released its first array of bubblies last summer.
Battaion (pronounced bad-e-on) adheres to the traditional French méthode champenoise of selecting grapes high in acid and low in sugar, fermenting a super-dry “base wine,” and inoculating it with yeast to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle. His wine is available at Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard and Campo di Bocce in Livermore, and by delivery to Bay Area cities through Battaion’s Bubble Club (www.battaioncellars.com). Below, he describes the wines in his first release.
Blanc de Noir NV (100 percent Pinot Noir) “This sparkling wine has a rich and complex taste. The rosé look in the glass is from minimal [grape] skin contact. Wonderful fruit essences.”
Brut NV (60 percent Chardonnay, 30 percent Pinot Blanc, 10 percent Pinot Noir) “This traditional Brut reflects the grape varieties with different vintages and vineyards. The taste is complex with finesse and fruit at the finish.”
Cuvée Rouge NV (92 percent Syrah, 8 percent Grenache) “This exciting, ruby-red cuvée was partially fermented on the skins. A bouquet of fresh strawberries and jam preserve makes it intense.”
Vintage Reserve 1996 (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc) “The finest cuvées were taken and aged on the yeast (en triage) for over three years.”