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WINE REVIEW: Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence Methode Traditionnelle, Mendocino County, CA ($26)


by Andrew Chalk


Sparkling wine has been the hallmark of special occasions and celebrations since its accidental discovery centuries ago, and it's easy to see why. From the quintessential “pop” of the cork to the beautiful, endless stream of bubbles floating to the surface, everything about this particular wine exudes attention and overindulgence – but one California winery is on a mission to change that.


Nestled in the rural and raw Anderson Valley, Scharffenberger Cellars has quietly been making some of the state’s most delicious, and affordable, sparkling wines since 1981. Founder John Scharffenberger selected the estate in the Anderson Valley because of its warm day-time temperatures and cool, foggy evenings. These large diurnal shifts help maintain the natural acidity in the grapes while also pushing the fruit to showcase character and generosity – two aspects which make superior sparkling wine.


Today, winemaker Jeffrey Jindra continues Scharffenberger’s tradition of crafting high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay-based brut and rosé sparkling wines perfect for any occasion. “Sparkling wine doesn’t need to be a celebratory beverage, and it’s part of my job to dispel that” says Jeffrey, “big occasions are great, but so is the everyday.”


WINEMAKING

Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence is made by the méthode traditionelle process, whereby the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. Most of the base wines underwent malolactic fermentation, which softens and rounds out the blend. The grapes are sourced from our vineyards in the Anderson Valley as well as other premium quality vineyards in Mendocino County with whom we have long term contracts. 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 fruit balance and color are achieved by adding between four and five percent of Pinot Noir wine to the blend before undergoing second fermentation in the bottle.


TASTING NOTES

The wine has a pale salmon hue with integrated aromas of fresh raspberry jam and wild strawberries on a cream covered pastry base. The flavors are layered, round, fresh, fruity and long.


TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Appellation: Mendocino County

Varietal: 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir

Fermentation: En tirage: Two years on the yeast

Number of Cases Produced: 2,800


WINEMAKING

Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence is made by the méthode traditionelle process, whereby the wines are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. Most of the base wines underwent malolactic fermentation, which softens and rounds out the blend. The grapes are sourced from our vineyards in the Anderson Valley as well as other premium quality vineyards in Mendocino County with whom we have long term contracts. 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 fruit balance and color are achieved by adding between four and five percent of Pinot Noir wine to the blend before undergoing second fermentation in the bottle.


TASTING NOTES

The wine has a pale salmon hue with integrated aromas of fresh raspberry jam and wild strawberries on a cream covered pastry base. The flavors are layered, round, fresh, fruity and long.



Sample


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About Me

Andrew Chalk is a Dallas-based author who writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world.

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