Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence
Mendocino County, California, United States
April 2022, James Suckling
“A fine-bubbled and full-bodied sparkling wine, showing apple-tart and orange-rind aromas with some brioche. Full-bodied. Off-dry. Easy. 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir. Drink now.”
Wine & Spirits
August 2021, Josh Greene
“This is clean and crisp with rich undertones of brioche and lemon custard. It offers a balance of the soft and the lively, a refreshing sparkling wine to kick off a dinner party.”
December 1, 2020, Jim Gordon
“A well-rounded, supple texture surrounds attractive toast and nut flavors in this suave and mouthfilling wine. Notes of biscuit, peach and toasted bread give it a nice sense of maturity and complexity.”
90 Points, Smart Buys
August 31, 2019, Tim Fish
“Vibrant and steely, with lemon, apple, creamy and toasted spice flavors, leading to a spirited finish. Drink now.”
Scharffenberger Cellars has been pioneering premium Mendocino California sparkling wine since 1981, with grapes sourced from Scharffenberger’s own 120 acres of vineyards, as well as select vineyards in Mendocino County. Grapes grown in Mendocino County—an unmatched appellation for sparkling wine—benefit from the cool coastal influences of the Pacific Ocean.
Scharffenberger grapes also enjoy the deep soils and sunshine provided by the protected Anderson Valley. The winery stays true to its original winemaking philosophy, to create stellar quality, delicious sparkling wines that reflect the diversity of the premier Mendocino County viticultural appellation.
All of our wines are made in the two-step méthode traditionnelle process where the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. To accomplish this, a small amount of cane sugar and yeast are added to the base blend on its way into bottle. Inside the capped bottle, the yeast will consume the sugar and create carbon dioxide necessary for bubbles. Trapped inside the bottle, the carbon dioxide slowly infuses into the wine to create the fine sparkle known the world over.
Since the beginning, while not required, approximately 80% of our wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. This secondary fermentation converts malic acid, the tart acid found in a green apple, to lactic acid, the soft creamy acid found in dairy. This technique is a signature of the Scharffenberger style and contributes to the rich and creamy texture of our wine.
Every year, through fractional blending (also known as solera) the reserve wine adds a new chapter to the story of Scharffenberger Cellars. On average, 12% of reserve wine is added to our non-vintage blends, which helps define the classic and consistent flavors and aromas of our sparkling wines. This added layer of complexity ensures that our wines tell the story of our past and current vintages. A portion of the reserve wine is also used in our dosage following disgorgement.
To further the depth of texture, flavors and aromas, every bottle ages a minimum of 24 months on the lees before leaving the winery. Prior to release, the bottles will be riddled (collecting the lees in the neck of the bottle), disgorged (expelling the yeast), topped off with the desired dosage (sweetened reserve wine), and aged on the cork for 6 months.
After approximately two years on the 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.
Varietals: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir
Wine Alcohol: 12%