Scharffenberger Brut Excellence
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.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
A fresh new release from Scharffenberger, Roederer Estate’s sister winery in Anderson Valley, this feels clean and sunny, with green melon, raw almond and green tea notes that last. It’s refreshing and comfortably balanced, the best wine from Scharffenberger we’ve tasted in many years.
In recent years, Scharffenberger’s Brut Excellence bottlings have racked up a fair share of “Good Value” recommendations, but, as this latest offering so clearly reaffirms, they are surprisingly serious wines whose marriage of vital fruit and yeasty richness would make them no less praiseworthy if costing considerably more. In this outing, the wine teams zesty, green apple fruit with a good deal of autolyzed complexity and earns further applause for its impeccable balance and ceaseless, very fine bubbles. It joins its Brut Rosé companion reviewed just above in earning high marks for its crafting and keen champenoise expression, and, the two offer a level of quality and satisfaction that is hard to beat at the price.
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.
In early 2018, Jeffrey Jindra took over the winemaking operations, bringing extensive experience acquired during his years producing wine both in California and New Zealand. Jeffrey stays true to the winery's original philosophy, to create stellar quality, delicious sparkling wines that reflect the diversity of the premier Mendocino County viticultural appellation.
A large and diverse appellation within California’s North Coast AVA, Mendocino is home to several smaller sub-regions—most notably the Anderson Valley. This scenic region, with rolling hills covered in redwood forests as well as vineyards, is one of the world’s top producers of certified organically-grown grapes. Due to wide geographical and climatic variation, a vast array of wine styles can be found here.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.