I’m fascinated with this wine not only because Megan Hughes has nicely crafted a “chardonnay in the raw” but also because it gives us a glimpse into what sparkling wines were like centuries ago. Then, grapes were just pressed, left to ferment, and bottled. Very few steps. The result is a wonderfully bubbly wine…under a crown cap. The wine is delicate, lemony, and quite yeasty.

Hughes, daughter of the Barnard Griffin founders, chooses an “encapsulated yeast” for this sparkler’s in-bottle, secondary fermentation, and it really works. Strictly speaking, winemakers back in the day didn’t have yeasts to choose from; they simply waited for the natural yeasts on the grapes to start the fermentation process after pressing. However, this is possibly the best of both worlds: then and now.  13% alcohol

Pairing: Best served on its own, as an aperitif wine.

WHO: Barnard Griffin Winery

WHERE: Yakima Valley AVA, Washington State

WHAT: 100% chardonnay

HOW MUCH: around $40 (media sample)