Glee Euphoria California Sparkling Wine Blanc de Noir

3rd August 2023

Glee Euphoria California Sparkling Wine Blanc de Noir

For reasons I don’t understand, the producer of this sparkling wine, Sapphire Hill, decided to hide behind the Glee moniker. There is nothing on the bottle to link Glee and Sapphire Hill, but it was easy enough to locate them.

Sapphire Hill Winery, a family-run boutique winery, has been operating in Sonoma County since 1989. It is located on the original homestead of Lucy and Levi Grove who acquired 120 acres in 1869 from Captain John Cooper, a sea captain, merchant, and cattle rancher who originally hailed from New England. He was granted the El Molino Ranchero by General Vallejo, his father in law, who founded Sonoma and is remembered today as a great American who contributed a great deal to California both before and after statehood. His life is essentially the history of 19th century Sonoma and his influence is still evident in 21st century Sonoma.

The only remaining original structure on the property is the homestead chimney made from rocks taken from the Russian River.

Initially, Sapphire Hill began as a 38-acre vineyard located just outside of Sebastopol. Original winery partners Tim Meinken (winemaker), Anne Giere, John Hall. and Denice Engstrom planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and later Syrah. At first, the grapes were sold to Rodney Strong, Sonoma-Cutrer, La Crema, and Murphy Good Estate Winery. The partners launched their own label in 1997 using estate-grown grapes, and in 2002 built the actual winery and opened a tasting room in Healdsburg, a charming town situated at the convergence of three renowned grape-growing regions: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Russian River Valley. This strategic location allowed the winery to procure grapes from these esteemed valleys and establish a reputation for crafting award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.

The estate vineyard’s unique setting offered picturesque views where the night sky often exhibited a blue hue as the sun set behind the peaks of California’s coastal range, inspiring the winery’s name, Sapphire Hill.

Hallie and Tony Gamboa are the current owners. Their introduction to Sapphire Hill Winery occurred in 2015 when they joined the winery’s wine club, drawn to the selections from Sonoma County that the winery offered. Over the years, they forged a deep connection with the former owners, Lisa and Chris Mulcahy, through various wine-related events. The Mulcahys had only just purchased the operation in 2011 from the founding partners, but took the Gamboas’ offer in order to retire.


Winemaker Tami Collins has been an integral part of Sapphire Hill since 2010. She boasts a strong winemaking background, including a B.S. degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and completion of coursework in Wine Chemistry, Winegrape Production, and Sensory Evaluation at the University of California, Davis.

When it comes to barrel aging, Sapphire Hill draws from over 20 years of experience working with different cooperages to select barrels that best complement the varietal, vineyard location, and desired flavor profile.

Flexibility is a hallmark of Sapphire Hill’s winemaking approach, allowing for experimentation and the creation of unique blends.

Glee Euphoria California Sparkling Wine Blanc de Noir

This sparkler is produced using the Méthode Champenoise [aka méthode traditionelle] where two fermentations occur in the bottle. It is made from hand-selected special lots of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, was riddled by hand, and aged for six years.

The wine opens with a coarse but lively fizz. Although labeled a Blanc de Noir, it has just a hint of pink. The rather indistinct nose leads to a savory palate, with flavors of flint, green pepper, a little lychee, and a bit, weirdly, of cinnamon. Sadly, there was none of the yeasty, bready notes that I so cherish in a sparkling wine. The finish is fairly short. To get the most from this bottle, don’t serve it too cold. I suggest about 60°F. ABV is 12%.

Stephen Hawk

Award-winning artist, writer, photographer, epicure and wine guru.  He started his wine blog, and although he enjoys all types of wines and spirits from around the world, his blog favors wines from the New World.