Every year millions of bottles of sparkling wine will be popped at midnight at the different time zones that span the earth to ring in a new decade this New Year’s Eve. Champagne from France is always the top choice, but does it really have to be. California is quickly becoming the go to region for sparkling wines; in fact, most of France’s Champagne houses have been making sparkling wines themselves in California for decades. France’s Champagne region can only produce a finite bottle of wines in the region that can labeled as Champagne. That means expensive land and ever-rising real estate and grape prices. That said, I often look to California for sparkling wines to celebrate big events or even just when I want to sip on some bubbles.
Scharffenberger Cellars, Mendocino County, California makes they’re sparkling wine Brut Excellence in the traditional method. Golden yellow in the glass, I prefer my sparkling wines in white wine glasses to make it easier to enjoy the bouquet and see the fine bubbles rising to the top. A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir along with letting the juice age over two years on the lees and then secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle lead to very pleasing results. The aroma has yeasty, fresh baked baguette notes up front balanced by tart lemon and even some tropical lychee sneaking in there. The wine goes through malolactic fermentation that gives the wine a creamy texture. The crisp acidity leads to a medium long finish and leaving your palate wanting more.
Scharffenberger Cellars demonstrates that quality sparkling wines can match their French cousins and compete for who reigns supreme when it comes to ringing in the next decade. The price is also attractive so stock up and enjoy creamy and crispy bubbles all year long.