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Scharffenberger Brut Excellence

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Mendocino, California
  • WE92
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Winemaker Notes

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 Acclaim

WE 92
Wine Enthusiast

This wine shows amazing complexity, subtle richness, layers of flavor and an ultrasmooth texture. A foundation of fruit flavor is very solid, and the acidity is firm and refreshing. The mouthfeel is plush and the finish lingers, making it a grand wine for a special occasion.

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Scharffenberger

Scharffenberger

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Scharffenberger, , California
Scharffenberger
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.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties...

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, The Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river which flows through the region. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, further from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes...

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

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