The history of Scharffenberger Cellars begins in 1981 in the heart of California’s Anderson Valley. Situated only miles from the coastal influences of the Pacific Ocean, Scharffenberger Cellars also enjoys the deep soils and sunshine within the protected valley. Originally founded by John Scharffenberger, the company has gone through many transitions, including a name change when it was formally known as Pacific Echo from 1998 until July 2004. Today, the name has been restored back to Scharffenberger Cellars under the new management of Maisons Marques & Domaines. The first release of the new Scharffenberger Cellars will be Scharffenberger Brut.
With the many changes at Scharffenberger Cellars, what has remained consistent is the quality and the original philosophy behind the winemaking. Tex Sawyer, winemaker since 1989 continues to manage the winemaking program and today works with the new ownership to restore the glory of the original brand name.
“The Anderson Valley is ideally suited to growing grapes for sparkling wine,” says winemaker Tex Sawyer. “It is the coolest growing region in California, so our grapes are allowed extra time on the vine and become fully mature before harvest.” Over the years, Scharffenberger Cellars has also built strong relationships with select vine growers in the Mendocino County appellation to source additional grapes for their sparkling wines.
The Scharffenberger Brut is blended with two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. The predominant Pinot Noir creates a sparkling wine that is fruit forward with noticeable aromas of strawberry/raspberry and some plum notes. The Chardonnay expresses itself with subtle tropical flavors of pineapple with pear. All the fruit for Scharffenberger Brut undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation which produces a wine that is rich with complex flavors and a round, lengthy finish.