92 Points Editors' Choice "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."
91 Points "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."
90 Points Top Value "Racy, with tart apple and floral anise aromas leading to zesty lime and lemon flavors, accented by cinnamon and ginger."
90 Points Smart Buys "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."
91 Points "This lovely Mendocino sparkler, crafted from two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir, has lilting apple and honey aromas buoyed by a thick head of mousse. There is a pleasing follow-through from aroma to flavor and a core of ripe apple. Dry, soft with a long finish, this is a hard-to-resist food-friendly wine ready to pair widely."
90 Points "A blend of two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir, this emits an inviting whiff of caramel apple. On the palate, the frothy mousse is dry and balanced."
88 Points Top Value "Crisp and lively, offering appealing cinnamon, apple and ginger aromas, with supple citrus, toffee and spice flavors."
Best Value "Balanced and graceful with lingering rich, creamy, toasty flavors. It showed restrained power and finesse."
90 Points Smart Buy "Bright aromas of green apple and lime lead to vibrant, layered flavors of citrus, anise and creamy vanilla."
90 Points "A delicious Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend from coolly grown Mendocino grapes that 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."
91 Points "Rich, inviting, smooth, with decidedly ripe appley and light mineral flavors; generous aftertaste."
90 Points Bargain Sparkler: "Great price for a brut this classically structured. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it's dry and crisp, with a fine mousse that gives it a creamy smooth mouthfeel. The pineapple, raspberry and vanilla flavors are delicious."
90 points, Best Buy "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."
"Tex Sawyer's Pinot-dominant blend has a softness and ripe tree fruit flavors that define the Scharffenberger style, but the berry and orange highlights, toasty accents and high-acid precision are a sign of a more anchored, gastronomic wine."
88 points, A Top Val "Fresh and easygoing, with aromas of green apple and fennel and crisp, lively citrus, mineral and toasty vanilla flavors that finish on a creamy note."
Bubbly of the Quarte "Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Non-Vintage ... is steely in color, with tight bubble activity, fetching brioche and pastry flavors, along with a creamy and engaging finish. The price is equally engaging."
"Yeasty, nutty, with notes of vanilla, crème brulee and brioche. Aromas of cherry and plum. Rich and full-bodied."
91 points, Editors' "This is a beautiful brut, easily worth its price. It shows the fancy elegance of more expensive bubblies, with its refined texture and rich but subtle flavors of strawberries, peaches and brioche. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and easy to find, with 25,000 cases produced."
88 points A recommended sparkling wine for New Year's Eve
2 Stars (Excellent) "Arguably the best value in California sparkling wine. It is neither the best nor the cheapest. But it combines champagnelike quality with a budget price (it is often on sale for about $15) and so offers great bada bing for the buck."
2.5 Stars (Good-Exce "Scharffenberger's wines keep getting better. Crisp and lively, with mushroom, toast and touch of fino sherry with a hint of brulee on the nose. Some plum skin and berry lift the palate."
A "Great, Affordable "A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this California Brut is creamy and full-bodied with tropical flavors."
88 points "Appealing for its sleek sense of focus and proportion. Nutty and spicy aromas blend with citrus and green apple, then open to zesty baked pear and lemon zest flavors."
90 Points, Editor's "This lovely brut offers real Champagne-like finesse. It’s rich and dry, with yeasty flavors of pineapples, lemon chiffon and raspberries. The mousse is creamy and smooth. This polished bubbly will develop with five years of cellaring."
Recommended "$15 to $25. At this price range, we'd look for California bubbly: Scharffenberger Cellars..."
92 Points "Fresh aromas of butterscotch and croissant with yeasty, buttery notes. Bright peach and apricot flavors with a green apple tartness. Fresh, steely close with a mix of lemon drop and minerals."
A Smart Pick The editors recommended Scharffenberger Cellars NV Brut in their tasting of bubbly for $20 or less. They said it paired well with savory appetizers and seafood.
Recommended Anderson "[T]he wine has remained tried and true and for the money — you cannot ask for a better sparkling wine made in California. Delicate and a little bit yeasty with vanilla, almond cream and briochelike flavors, keep this in mind for holiday celebrations."
Recommended "California sparkling wine is a great match with any crisp, salty, fried appetizer...This green-appley bottling is especially refreshing."
Recommended for Sush "This elegant blend of two-thirds pinot noir and one-third chardonnay melds red-fruit richness with classic chardonnay tropical fruit for a balanced, fruit-forward sparkler. Its cleansing character and dry finish made it a match with the tuna and yellowtail as well as with sushi rolls coated in sesame seeds. 'The toasted, nutty character of the wine is a good complement to the toasted sesame seeds,' Mr. Wardlow said. Mr. Pinnell noted that it cuts through pickled ginger very nicely."
Sommelier Steve Hua, NobHill, MGM Grand, of Las Vegas recommends Scharffenberger Cellars NV Brut.
Very Good, Best of T "Most notable was our old friend Scharffenberger, which was the clear best of tasting, with interesting layers of taste, some complexity and an intricate melding of bubbles and wine...Best of tasting. Classy, with true, clean tastes of minerals, toast and ripe grapefruit. Nutty, with a slightly buttery finish that's quite luscious and lasts."
2 Stars "The goal of Scharffenberger winemaker Tex Sawyer is to craft drink-now wines, and the two-thirds Pinot Noir composition highlights freshness over its ability to age. Another woodsy nose, with sharp apple, red fruit and lemon. Very, very precise on the palate, to the point you wish it had a bit more breadth."
Recommended "John Scharffenberger, of chocolate fame, started--then later sold--this gem of a winery in California's cool Anderson Valley. This one is light, fresh, and frothy."
91 Points "Here's a polished, elegant wine, very dry, with delicate flavors of citrus rind, bread dough and yeast, toast and vanilla. It has a lightness and charm on the palate that make it irresistible."
Recommended Sparklin "Distinctive for its baked pear, orange zest and spice notes. Crisp apple and lemon flavors blend nicely, adding richness on the finish."
100 Best Values of t "Yeasty and dry in style, this emphasizes broad richness of flavor. It gives a soft, round impression, then ends integrated and clean. Serve with roast veal in a light cream sauce."
89 Points "Fresh and festive, with floral strawberry and spicy vanilla aromas and supple flavors of raspberry, peach and gingerbread."
91 Points Editors’ Choice "This is a classy bottle of bubbly from the light copper color to the lightly fruity, yeasty aromas to the crisp mouthfeel and satisfying spice and raspberry flavors. A sense of layered richness is balanced by good acidity for balance."
Gold Medal BEST IN CLASS "Lush, creamy strawberry and red apple flavors are plumped by brisk acidity and hints of smoke, cocoa, orange zest, and minerality. Lively and complex."
Gold Medal Best in Class - 2014 Sunset International Wine Competition
91 Points "A majority Pinot Noir (54%), this brut rosé has a healthy head of mousse followed by succulent strawberry flavor, bright acidity and a smooth finish. Dark golden-peach in color, it is layered and well-made, and a great value for the quality."
Gold Medal - BEST IN "Lush, creamy strawberry and red apple flavors are plumped by brisk acidity and hints of smoke, cocoa, orange zest, and minerality. Lively and complex."
"I can't think of another CA sparkler that does what Scharffenberger is doing."
91 Points Top Value Smart Buy-"Sleek, with pinpoint focus, this offers raspberry and butter cookie aromas, with crisp, elegant citrus and cherry flavors marked by ginger and spice."
92 Points "Resplendent in aromas and flavors of peach and strawberry, this sparkler is a stunner, with creamy mousse, medium body and bright acidity."
90 Points "Impeccably dry, with a delicate salmon hue and aromas of spicy strawberry and lime. Flavors are vibrant and crisp, showing notes of watermelon and graham cracker."
92 Points "This nonvintage 54% Pinot Noir- 46% Chardonnay sparkler is as good as ever, a beautiful peach color with peach and strawberry aromas and flavors that are not too overpowering, not too subtle, just right. The creamy mousse, medium body and bright acidity make it a stunner with food. Bring on the goat cheese fritters or tempura."
Recommended "Salmon hue, big bubbles, aromas and flavors of red raspberries, firm structure"
Top 100 Wines of 201 Top 100 Wines of 2010: "Scharffenberger's regular Brut is a standout, but winemaker Tex Sawyer again leaves an impression with the pink version, its richer tones bolstered by 46 percent Chardonnay. With fresh apple and creamy strawberry, plus a pastry-cream richness and a subtle bead. A proper bubbly for the whole meal."
Recommended for Than "Scharffenberger's regular Brut is better than ever, but with this rosé version winemaker Tex Sawyer leaves his true mark. Forty-six percent Chardonnay shows itself, with a fresh apple note atop creamy strawberry, plus a pastry-cream richness and a softer, subtle bead. Ever more, this is proper food bubbly - eloquent and well executed."
A Top 100 Wine of 20 "Longtime winemaker Tex Sawyer has been pointing this venerable California name in an excellent direction. This year he's unveiled an elegant rosé that's a pure delight. ...It bursts with fresh strawberry and peach, zingy citrus and a pastry-like opulence."
90 points "An elegant wine with tart and juicy sour cherry flavors, this has the full fatness of ripe California fruit. Yet it's harmonious, not aggressive, a finely balanced sparkler for duck meatballs."
88 points, A Califor "Festive and lively, with aromas of rose petal, raspberry and graham cracker and luscious strawberry and cream flavors that finish on a crisp mineral note."
Bubbly of the Quarte "Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Rosé Non-Vintage, ... a new release, was the best non-vintage surprise of the tasting because we have not been impressed with many California Rosés (vintage or non-vintage) in past tastings. Winemaker Sawyer has not made a Rosé for several years, but decided the current fruit crop warranted one. The result is delicious. Pink-salmon color, with strawberry/raspberry aromas, fresh, firm flavors of bread and pastry, with buoyant fruitiness and finish."
"Scharffenberger... has also returned to fine form. If the wines of corporate sibling Roederer Estate glance across the water toward Reims, the Scharffenberger wines are unabashedly Californian, with a softer profile (from full malolactic fermentation) and more distinctly ripe fruit. Not only has longtime winemaker Tex Sawyer given the standard brut extra finesse, but the house this year also unveiled a serious rosé."
Two Stars (Good) "The experience: The staff person at the tasting room was very knowledgeable about the winery and the history of the area. She pointed out that the brut's composition of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay was the opposite of Roederer's, which is made in the French style. We were regaled with tales of the valley's winemaking past, including the days when nearby Greenwood Road was called Vinegar Ridge because locals would go there during Prohibition to buy 'vinegar' from Italians who grew grapes there."
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