Melka’s Golden Touch and a top Sonoma Coast Vineyard
Chardonnay collectors, take note. According to Robert Parker, the French-born Philippe Melka is one of the world’s top consulting winemakers, and the many 100-point scores earned by Melka wines back that up. His exacting winemaking skills have catapulted labels like Dominus, Hundred Acre, Bryant Family, Tusk, and Dana Estates onto the world’s wine stage. His Cabernet Sauvignon is the stuff of legend, but his artistry is on full display in the Moone-Tsai Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay, which has become a critical darling. Here’s your chance to lock into a rare Chardonnay dubbed “fabulous,” “gorgeous,” and “full of personality,” and sourced from a vineyard The Wine Advocate calls “one of the top sites in Sonoma” — a source for Littorai and Kosta Browne. Our only regret? Just 192 bottles of the 2015 Moone-Tsai Chardonnay will end up in a handful of lucky Wine Access clients’ hands.
It’s hard to have a conversation about the greatest wines from Napa Valley — or indeed the world — without someone dropping the name of winemaker Philippe Melka. His studies in geology and winemaking at the University of Bordeaux landed him a job at Chateau Haut-Brion, and then at Petrus. His connection with Christian Moueix of Petrus helped bring him to Napa with Dominus. It wouldn’t be long before requests started pouring in from the top estates in Napa — including one from Larry and MaryAnn Tsai.
When the Tsais set out to produce their own line of limited production wines, they had only two non-negotiables: First, they’d only seek out grapes from the very best sites in Napa and Sonoma. Second, they’d employ the very best winemaker. So they locked into a grape contract with Sonoma Coast’s Charles Heintz Vineyard, the critically acclaimed source for Littorai and Kosta Browne. Then the masterful Melka coaxed all the “textural richness” out of those grapes, which Antonio Galloni believes to be the signature style from Heintz’ 30-year-old vines planted in gold loam soils. It is a Chardonnay for collectors, a wine that will age and improve in your cellar for a decade.