Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence

Mendocino County, California, United States

Vintage:Non-Vintage (Current)

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Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence non-vintage
  • JS 92
  • W&S 91
  • WE 91
  • VFTC 90
  • WS 90

Reviews 92 Points November 2023, James Suckling

“A solid core of fruit with apple, strawberry and hints of iron and salt on both the nose and palate. Full yet not too much with a lively mouthfeel and fine tannins. Tensioned and plenty of flavor.”

View From the Cellar 90 Points September 2023, John Gilman

“The new release of Scharffenberger “Brut Excellence” is composed from a blend of sixty percent chardonnay and forty percent pinot noir. The vins clairs go through full malolactic and the wine is given fully two years aging sur latte prior to disgorgement. The wine offers up a lovely nose of white peach, apple, fresh-baked brioche, raw almond and a lovely base of soil tones. On 116 the palate the wine is crisp, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a lovely core of fruit, good soil inflection, pinpoint bubbles and fine length and grip on the well-balanced finish. Good juice. 2023- 2035.”

Wine & Spirits 91 Points 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.”

Wine Enthusiast 91 Points 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.”

Wine Spectator 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.”


The history of Scharffenberger Cellars begins in 1981 in the heart of Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. Situated only miles from the coastal influences of the Pacific Ocean, Scharffenberger Cellars also enjoys the deep soils and sunshine with in the protected valley. Originally founded by John Scharffenberger, the winery entered a new chapter as a member of the Roederer Collection in 2004. Today, winemaker Jeffrey Jindra continues to craft without compromise delicious sparkling wines that showcase the unparalleled uniqueness of Mendocino County terroir.

Sustainability is at the heart of every decision. The winery's commitment to preserving and nourishing the land runs deep and has been a guiding principle since the early days. In 1992, Scharffenberger Cellars granted 63 acres to the Anderson Valley Land Trust. Today, the entirety of our 120-acre estate is sustainably farmed and Fish Friendly Farming certified.


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.

Tasting Notes

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.

Technical Information

Varietals: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir

Wine Alcohol: 12%