Scharffenberger Cellars, Mendocino County (California) “Brut Excellence” NV

($20):  Scharffenberger Cellars was, and now is again, judging from this wine, a leader in California sparkling wine.  Founded in 1981, at a time when the subsidiaries of French Champagne companies were establishing outposts in California, Scharffenberger showed that domestically-owned producers could make top-flight sparkling wines.  (Of course, Schramsberg was the leader in that category.) Scharffenberger went through some tough times, re-created as Pacific Echo at one point.  Now they are back in form under the management of Maisons Marques and Domaines, who itself is a partner with Champagne icon, Roederer.  This Brut Excellence is extraordinary for what it delivers for 20 bucks.  Fruity and friendly, a thread of acidity keeps it vibrant.  It serves double duty as a stand-alone aperitif as well a wine for sushi, chicken in a cream sauce, or even sautéed pork chops.
93 Michael Apstein Dec 24, 2019