Wed 30 Dec 2009
Looking back through two years of “Twelve Days of Christmas” series, I find it difficult to believe that I never included the Scharffenberger Brut. It might be easy to overlook this champagne method sparkling wine because it’s so familiar, but don’t make that mistake. The Scharffenberger Brut never fails to be delightful, and at the price, it represents Good Value. The winery was founded in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley in 1981 by John Scharffenberger, but from 1998 to mid 2004 (when it was owned by Veuve Clicquot), its sparkling wine was known by the generic and rather senseless name of Pacific Echo; thank goodness saner heads prevailed after Roederer purchased the company. Composed two-thirds of pinot noir grapes and one-third chardonnay, the Scharffenberger Brut is a pale lemon-straw color invested with a profusion of tiny bubbles. Aromas of apples and pears are bolstered by toasty, biscuity elements with a touch of hazelnuts and a wisp of almond blossom. This sparkling wine is notably crisp and effervescent, yet slightly lush, with tart apple and quince flavors and a hint of roasted lemon buoyed by brisk acidity and limestone-like minerality. A terrific sparkling wine for small parties and receptions. Very Good+. About $18.