Scharffenberger Brut Excellence
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from North Coast, California
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.
Wine Enthusiast - "Beautifully balanced between maturity and freshness, this elegant bubbly combines appetizing cherry, almond and ginger flavors with a suave texture and long finish. It achieves a level of personality and sophistication beyond simple fruitiness. "
Wine Spectator - "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."
Wine & Spirits - "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."
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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. View all Scharffenberger Wines
About North CoastView a map of North Coast wineries
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.
Notable FactsMendocino has a high amount of organic vintners and vines. The first winery to settle here was Fetzer, which practices organic viticulture and holds some of the most vineyard land in the area. Mendocino has many pockets of micro-climates while Lake County, being smaller in size, is less diverse climactically. As for the grapes, Chardonnay is the most popular in both counties, but there are also some excellent Sauvignon Blancs, particularly in the Lake County. In red wine, Zinfandel leads the way, followed by Rhone Blends and Petite Sirah. The reds in both counties are complex and sumptuous. Anderson Valley is a sub-AVA of Mendicino and is quite well known for its excellent cool climate, producing the delicious Roederer Estate sparkling wines and some wonderful cool-climate Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review3.5 }div>3.5 out of 5 stars
- 5 Stars: 3
- 4 Stars: 9
- 3 Stars: 7
- 2 Stars: 3
- 1 Stars: 0
22 ratings, 14 with reviewsEJGP - Jackson Heights, NY29/10/2008I 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.412/26/2012Tried 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.43/27/2009With 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.Brujazz - Long Beach, NY45/30/2015Scharffenberger is truly a benchmark for all levels of domestic sparkling wine. This one is their entry level bottling. Very well balanced, with some decent weight and complexity. It's got some citrus and apples in the flavor. All that's missing is a touch more toast and yeast. You'll think you're having some bubbly that costs at least $10 a bottle more.hrndfrg - Huntsville, TX310/7/2014nala123 - Palos Heights, IL25/28/2014It was very acidic and tart. For the price, you can get better sparkling wines.Tracy Adams - Dublin, OH51/25/2014Todd Sonnier - Baton Rouge, LA41/20/2014Richard Martin - Shawnee Mission, KS311/28/2013we 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!kikinahm - Las Vegas, NV57/12/2013Well, this one I haven't taken the time to taste. I'm collecting wine. So, this one is in my cellar.Benjamin Collett - Oklahoma City, OK41/3/2013
Randoid - Oak View, CA412/23/2012Clean bright taste of apples. Great value. This has become our favorite post-coital hot tub wine.Jim Dunaway - Temecula, CA28/3/2012AlohaGirl - Waianae, HI45/12/2012I 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.casalingo - Villanova, PA34/23/2012Ian Emerson - Madison, WI31/8/2012511/4/201131/1/2011Mendocino, sweet, sour, bitter. Depends on food. Not bubbly31/1/2011Mendocino, sweet, sour, bitter. Depends on food. Not bubblyross davis - Oceanport, NJ410/9/2008Very crisp and enjoyableMissy Pat - Little Rock, AR36/17/2010Upon 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.STEVE D - Canton, MA411/27/2007This 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!!
- Light & Fruity
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
- 5 Stars: