Scharffenberger Brut Excellence
Non-Vintage from North Coast, California
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Alcohol By Volume: 12.0%
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Scharffenberger Brut Excellence is made by the traditional méthode champenoise process – whereby the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. The wine is approximately two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay and undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation. Scharffenberger Brut is made from its own 120-acre vineyards in the Anderson Valley. In addition, Scharffenberger Cellars has long-term contracts with select vineyards in the greater Mendocino County. This type of vineyard selection allows us to choose from the best vineyards in the area which enables us to produce our trademark cuvée.
The wine is two-thirds Pinot Noir which produces a red fruit (cherry and plum) forward nose combined with one-third Chardonnay which adds the tropical expression of litchi nut and mango. The 100% malolactic fermentation adds a vanilla cream character producing a round and full-bodied wine. After approximately two years on the yeast lees, there are notes of freshly baked bread and pastry that enhances the more fruit forward style of the wine. Finally, after several months on the cork the wine develops caramel and hazel complexors.
"A delightfully racy sparkler, with tart apple and floral anise aromas leading to zesty lime and lemon flavors,
presenting accents of cinnamon and spicy ginger."
"A delicious Chardonay and Pinot Noir blend from coolly grown Mendocino grapes that is is equal parts golden apple and honey in both aroma and flavor. Creamy from full malolactic fermentation, this sparkler is full-bodied and plenty fruity with a caramel, vanilla tone on the finish. Will pair well with creamy, full-bodied foods."
"This is a pale, dry sparkling wine with a robust pinot noir scent. The yeastiness leaves an impression of smoky richness, with a stony mineral note. Delicious with wood-roasted oysters."
Wine & Spirits
- Jackson Heights, NY
(read all my reviews
I have no idea how this ended up getting a 90, a 90, and a 92. I smell commercial interests at work in the ratings process. I bought 6 bottles of this stuff and it's just plain ol' nasty. Better to buy gasoline and drink that, or put it in your car.
Well, this one I haven't taken the time to taste. I'm collecting wine. So, this one is in my cellar.
Tried this after reading a review in the NYT and am very glad I did. For the price, and excellent brut, medium bead, slightly yeasty. Needs to be well chilled.
Clean bright taste of apples. Great value. This has become our favorite post-coital hot tub wine.
I love Scharffenberger Brut! I feel it is one of the best ever produced in California... Don't include my name, only my city & state are fine.
With Korbel on one end of my spectrum and Piper-Heidsieck at the other, this California sparkler landed closer to Korbel in price and closer to P-H in taste. It is slightly sweeter than either, but is smooth throughout. Wine News overrates it by a point or two.
This brut was perfect for our Holiday celebration. We started with the Scharffenberger and ended with an excellent Iron Horse. Slightly sweeter than the IH ( a good thing). Very good before the meal with oysters and little necks. Semi novice with the sparkling wines but thoroughly enjoyed the bottle we had. Nice bubbles!!
we just opened our first bottle for our traditional Thanksgiving morning toast. What a wonderful wine! More Fruit forward than most sparklers but well rounded and smooth with hints of litchhee and ginger. For the money, a steel. Going to buy more for Christmas and New YEars!
Mendocino, sweet, sour, bitter. Depends on food. Not bubbly
Mendocino, sweet, sour, bitter. Depends on food. Not bubbly
Upon opening, the sparkling wine was quiet yeasty on the nose but soon gave way to some subtle berry & buttery flavors finishing with lemon rind. I use the word rind instead of zest because I found that earlier on there was a slight bitter though not totally unpleasant on the finish. It may have continued throughout the bottle but I only noticed it in the first 2 glasses. We both gave this sparkler a solid 90 points and will certainly buy it again for casual drinking.
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Learn About Scharffenberger Map It
The history of Scharffenberger Cellars begins in 1981 in the heart of California's Anderson Valley. Situated only miles from the coastal influences of the Pacific Ocean, Scharffenberger Cellars also enjoys the deep soils and sunshine within the protected valley. Originally founded by John Scharffenberger, the company has undergone many transitions, including a name change when it was formally known as Pacific Echo from 1998 until July 2004. Today, the name has been restored back to Scharffenberger Cellars under the management of Maisons Marques & Domaines.
Learn About North Coast
Beyond Napa and Sonoma in the north you find a couple of other counties producing great wine. Among these are Mendocino and Lake County. The northernmost California winegrowing regions, these two counties are right above Napa and Sonoma, geographically. Yet, wine-wise they are very different - both from their southern neighbors and from each other.
Read More About North Coast
Learn About Non-Vintage
Most Champagne you encounter will be NV, or non-vintage. This is because the base wine is a blend of wine from
In producing non-vintage wines, Champagne houses strive to keep the taste consistent year by year, and non-vintage
the winemakers flexibility in blending, ensuring a constant style each year. Non-vintage Champagne...
Read More About Non-Vintage