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2012 Charles Heintz "Melissa Danielle" Sonoma Coast Brut Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine (Elsewhere $65) SKU #1451854

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WE 94
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

Winemaking notes from consulting winemaker, Michael Cruse (Ultramarine): "This limited production of sparkling wine is made from 100% Chardonnay from Heintz Ranch. We used the classic 'Champagne Method' pressing with wild yeasts on the primary fermentation. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. The base wine was then aged sur lies in neutral French barrels for a full 12 months until tirage. This wine was then aged en tirage (on its yeasts) for almost 5 years in the bottle and allowed to evolve and develop more complex flavors. The wine has an attractive golden yellow color with finely beaded bubbles. Aromas of stone fruit and white peach are complemented by subtle notes of wildflower honey, fresh brioche with hints of orange marmalade. Yeasty notes on the palate are highlighted by a pleasing almond nuttiness. Lively soft bubbles yield to a creamy expansive texture and then exit with a long, crisp and clean finish."

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Staff Reviews

  • Ryan Woodhouse
    By: Ryan Woodhouse
    K&L Staff Member
    If any of you have been lucky enough to get a hold of some Ultramarine bubbles you know just how spectacular they are. The part that's not so fun is when you have to scour the internet just to find a bottle, and when you do find it you're looking at prices upwards of $200. So here's the scoop on this stunning sparkler...it was made for Charlie Heintz by Michael Cruse of Ultramarine fame who sources his grapes from Charlie's legendary eponymous vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. A winemaker who worked for Cruse for some time gave me the inside scoop that this bottling is basically the heads and tails of the Ultramarine "Heintz Vineyard" Blanc de Blanc. It's made from the same fruit, same pressing and fermentation process etc...just that the select, mid-press cut goes to Ultramarine ($200bt) and the rest, the free run and latter pressing, was bottled for vineyard owner Charlie Heintz under his own estate label. Aside from this Ultramarine lineage, this bottle can stand tall on it's own merits; coming from one of the most highly regarded Chardonnay vineyards in all of California and spending an impressive one year in neutral French oak then more than 5 years on tirage (that's about the same length of time maturing as Roederer's Cristal!) A lovely elegance to the bubbles lifts aromas of powdery white flowers, citrus blossom and toasted barley. On the palate the brightness and vibrancy of the coastal grown Chardonnay is nicely contrasted against the backdrop of rich, yeasty, nutty qualities. It's like a flaky almond croissant meets a freshly baked, tangy apple tart. Mouthwatering and very moreish! A brisk, saline minerality underscores everything and lingers on the finish. A fantastic bottle of bubbly for the holiday season and quality that greatly exceeds the sharp winery-direct price point. This one's a winner all around.
  • Ryan Moses
    By: Ryan Moses
    K&L Staff Member
    A rival for legit Champagne at multiples of the price, this vintage Blanc de Blancs is a category-defying example that shows the Midas touch that Michael Cruse has with domestic sparklers. Complex aromas deliver peach, beeswax, golden apples, and hints of ginger. On the palate there is orange rind, pear, and a streak of minerality. With a pinpoint but lively mousse, mouthwatering acidity, it is nearly impossible to put down.


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