Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sparkling Wine in the Anderson Valley

The Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, which is best known for Alsatian Varietals and Pinot Noir, is also home to two producers of excellent sparkling wine: Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger Cellars. The two wineries' histories are different but now are owned by the same company, Maisons Marquis & Domaines.

Roederer Estate was founded by Champagne Louis Roederer in 1982. Today the winery produces vintage and non-vintage bruts and rosés made completely from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The tasting room lets you sample the current releases for a small fee.

Scharffenberger Cellars was founded in 1981 by John Scharffenberger, who later left the company to make chocolate in Berkeley. The winery went through a number of changes, including a name change to Pacific Echo. The current owners restored the original name; although, the winery has no affiliation with Scharffenberger Chocolate. The winery produces a non-vintage brut, which is available for tasting in the winery's small tasting room. In addition, you can taste wines from other properties in the Maisons Marquis & Domaines' portfolio. On our recent visit, we tasted Alsatian Gewürztraminer and Riesling from Domaines Schlumberger.

The wineries are about two miles apart from each other on the north side of Highway 128. Both tasting rooms are open daily from 11 - 5. Roederer Estate offers tours by prior appointment. Picnic tables are available in the garden in front of Scharffenberger's tasting room.

If you would like to take a private tour of the Anderson Valley that includes visits to both Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger Cellars, please call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking here.

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