Scharffenberger "Brut Excellence" Mendocino County Brut
This lovely Mendocino sparkler, crafted from two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir, has lilting apple and honey aromas buoyed by a thick head of mousse. There is a pleasing follow-through from aroma to flavor and a core of ripe apple. Dry, soft with a long finish, this is a hard-to-resist food-friendly wine ready to pair widely.
*Good Value* Long on autolyzed richness with a very keen sense of vigorous young fruit in the nose and following with long, impressively layered flavors of citrus, minerals and rich yeast, this exceptionally well-crafted sparkler is charged with a wonderfully fine and frothy mousse that simply never lets up. It is an overachiever among the crowded field of basic Bruts, and it is nothing short of an absolute bargain at the price.
A delightfully racy sparkler, with tart apple and floral anise aromas leading to zesty lime and lemon flavors, presenting accents of cinnamon and spicy ginger. Drink now.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Light, bright gold. Green apple and quinine on the citrus-accented nose. Very dry and nervy on the palate, which offers taut lemon and orchard fruit flavors and a hint of bitter herbs. Slightly pinched on the finish but there's good focus and cut here. This bubbly has a low 2.95 pH, which no doubt contributes to its racy character.
One of the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Wines of 2011: "Now affiliated with its neighbor, Roederer Estate, this longtime local fave (just renamed Brut Excellence) has found a new level of precision for its quintessentially California style of sparkling. There's just a hint of a soft side to an otherwise steely texture, with green apple, poppy seed and morning bun flavors underscored by a perfect mineral bite. The best hidden value in American fizz."