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Senior Tim Fish joined the Wine Spectator staff in 2001. His tasting beat includes Oregon, Washington, California Zinfandel and Rhône-style reds, and U.S. sparkling wines.
Tim Fish

Value Bubbly for an Easter Crowd

Scharffenberger Brut Mendocino County NV

Tim Fish
Posted: March 31, 2010

Excuses for drinking bubbly aren’t needed in our house. “It’s Tuesday” is good enough. On holidays like Easter we typically splurge, but we’re expecting a crowd this year—so no vintage Champagne for us. But good value choices from California abound. Scharffenberger Cellars in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley has been producing some of the most reliable sparkling wines in California since 1981, so with Easter in mind I recently popped a bottle of the current non-vintage Brut ($19).

As always, it was a charmer: fresh and lively, with crisp green apple, mineral and spicy vanilla notes, with a hint of cherry. That day I gave it 88 points, non-blind. It is vibrant enough to sip before the feast and I know some guests will keep drinking it with the main course of ham. However, I will also open a few bottles of Pinot Noir for the red wine fans, an Anderson Valley Pinot I think, just to keep the regional theme.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Scharffenberger Brut Mendocino County NV (88, $19).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among all sparkling wines.

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