John Scharffenberger started his eponymous winery in 1981, when premium American bubbly was still a niche product.
He sold it and moved on to making chocolate, but he sold that too.
These days John raises Iberian pigs in Mendocino County to make high-quality ham.
The distributors of Roederer wines have kept the Scharffenberger name in bubbles, though, and it's a product worthy of the man, even if he's not still involved.
Scharffenberger Mendocino County Brut NV ($19)
Like the Artist Known Again as Prince, Scharffenberger spent several years under another name -- Pacific Echo -- before having its brand restored. Winemaker Tex Sawyer never left and never stopped making great value bubblies. This wine undergoes 100 percent malolactic fermentation, but I would never have guessed that from the crisp, clean Meyer lemon and green apple flavors. It's a blend of about 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, aged two years on the lees -- a lot of value for under $20. 90