I had the recent good fortune to attend a wine tasting at The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan where I belong to their monthly wine club. The tasting was being sponsored by the Vintage Wine Company and was featuring wines from Maisons Marques & Domains. Maisons Marques & Domaines USA Inc. was founded in 1987 as the United States sales and marketing arm for Champagne Roederer Estate. They now represent forty-three brands including Dominus Estate and Chateau Petrus.
The history of Scharffenberger Cellars began in 1981 in the heart of Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, California. They are located only miles from the coastal influences of the Pacific Ocean. Originally founded by John Scharffenberger, the company has gone through changes including a name change from 1998 to 2004 when it was known as Pacific Echo. One of the first changes introduced by management team of Maisons Marques & Domaines was the restoration of the name Scharffenberger Cellars. Since 1989, the one constant was the winemaker “Tex” Sawyer who enjoys the cooler and longer growing period that the Anderson Valley offers and he has since developed strong relationships with other Mendocino County winegrowers for additional fruit.
I had the good fortune to try the two sparkling wines being offered. The first wine was Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence Mendocino County NV and it is a blend of fruits from the one-hundred-twenty acres of the estate and from select vineyards from the county. The wine is a blend of sixty percent Chardonnay and forty percent Pinot Noir and they employ the Methode Traditionelle process after a period of two years on the lees. They produce about twenty-thousand cases annually. The wine offered the classic yeasty bread flavor with some vanilla and caramel in the finish. The other wine that I tried was the Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Rosé Excellence Mendocino County NV. This wine is a blend of fifty-six percent Chardonnay and forty-four percent Pinot Noir and was allowed to age on the lees for two years. The color is achieved by adding four to five percent more Pinot Noir before the second fermentation and the Methode Traditionelle process. There was just under three-thousand cases produced of this wine annually. I really enjoyed this sparkling wine as it offered not only the yeasty bread that I look for, but also the nose and taste of some red fruits (strawberries and raspberries) for a delicious layered finish. A delightful way to begin a tasting.