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Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
The 2014 Chardonnay from the Marcassin Vineyard could be described as a letdown after two perfect wines, but of course, it’s not. It shares the great intensity of its predecessors, doesn’t seem to have quite the complexity and profound depth of either the 2012 or 2013, but since it’s younger, that may appear with more time in the bottle. Certainly the tangerine oil, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle and lemon blossom are all present in this wine of impressive fruit purity, equilibrium and length. Like the 2013 and 2012, it has at least 10-15 years of aging potential.. -Wine Advocate 96 Points
What an extraordinary tasting this was at the Marcassin winery just north of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Just when you think the duo of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer can’t make greater wines, they bowl over the taster with an array of exquisite quality that really must be tasted to be believed. Marcassin was probably California’s greatest Chardonnay after the famous Chalone winery fell from the pinnacle and onto hard times in the 1980s (and it has yet to rebound). Moreover, Marcassin set the bar for great Pinot Noir as well. And while both their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have many competitors these days (from the likes of Harford Court, Mark Aubert, Kistler, Kongsgaard, DuMol, Thomas Brown, Peter Michael, Martinelli and Luc Morlet, to name a few), John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley remain the reigning geniuses of these two varietals in California. Certainly, their meticulous attention to detail in both the vineyard and in the winemaking and élevage account for the quality, but they were among the pioneers who saw the unlimited potential from the Sonoma Coast, now a relatively crowded neighborhood. This was a remarkable tasting that simply blew me away, and I have been following their wines since the first Marcassins were made in the early 1990s. By the way, any doubts about aging potential should be crushed immediately, as even in the most challenging vintages in California, Marcassin Chardonnays and Pinots have aged as well as, if not better than just about any grand cru white Burgundy. For example, 1995 and 1996 Chardonnays, particularly those from the Lorenzo Vineyard, are incredibly youthful and dynamic, and the Marcassin Estate Pinot Noir, even from vintages such as 1998, is simply amazing.
The three Chardonnays tasted include two perfect wines. Perhaps the closest comparison is not to anything made in California, but a Corton-Charlemagne in a top vintage from the famous Jean François Coche-Dury.
A complex nose of white nectarine, marzipan, citrus peel and pineapple upside down cake with a full palate, offering nuanced flavors of Asian pear, lemon curd and Calimyrna fig.
The Bien Nacido Vineyard is located in the Santa Maria Valley on the South Central Coast of California, just east of Santa Maria. The topography of the valley features transverse ranges with an east/west orientation, opening up to the Pacific Ocean. The climate is strongly influenced by the ocean providing ideal temperate growing conditions for Chardonnay. Early spring warming, mild summer temperatures and late arriving cold fall temperatures provide a long growing season for the development of rich color along with concentrated and complex flavors.
This wine from the historic vineyard is light in color but not shy on the nose at all: lime blossoms, lemon curds, honeysuckle and lemon-lime soda all leap from the glass. The palate combines chopped dill and dewy herbs with green fruits, from pears to kiwi to lime peels, all presented with a lot of briskness. 93 Points Wine Enthusiast
Abeja Chardonnay Washington State 2013 is 100 percent Chardonnay
This Chardonnay has the essence of a freshly baked lemon meringue pie, green apple, and Bartlett pear. It is both dense and bright, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon coming from its time in barrel. Aromas are so much related to experiences. It is a wine that is in the traditional Abeja style, with superb polish, complexity, and balance, yet with a light touch at 13.5 percent alcohol.
"Supple, ripe and complex, with layers of pear, floral, tangerine and a note reminiscent of freshly ironed clothing. Fine acidity carries this through to a refreshing finish. Drink now through 2020. 919 cases made. –HS"
- Wine Spectator (November 15th, 2015), 91 pts
"Abeja’s 2013 Chardonnay offers clean, crisp notes of apple blossom, white flowers, citrus and brioche. Fermented and aged in barrel (40% new), it has a solid mix of richness and freshness, is beautifully balanced, and will drink nicely for 2-3 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, June 2015), 91 pts
"A blend of top sites Celilo and Conner Lee, this appealing wine displays aromas of candy corn, corn silk and chamomile. The stone-fruit flavors are elegantly styled, showing a sense of restraint and balance that carries through the lingering finish."
- Wine Enthusiast (September 1st 2015), 91 pts
Argot Simpatico Ranch Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Powerful aromas of key-lime, white flowers, orange blossoms and a fierce, flinty, sauvage note define a wildly complex nose. Once in the mouth, gracefully pronounced textures coat the palate delivering an exotic interpretation of cool-climate Chardonnay character — lime peel, orange blossom, ginger and clove —lingerings deep into a vibrant finish.
Planted 1978. Shallow volcanic soils on the gently-sloped, south-facing foothills of Bennett Peak on Bennett Valley’s floor. One of California’s coolest Chardonnay vineyards. In the final year of 3-year draught cycle, Simpatico Ranch saw its earliest ever harvest and smallest crop, exposing a reserve of exoticism and minerality previously untapped. A watershed vintage for both the vineyard, and appellation. Night harvested by hand on 9/16, whole-cluster pressed direct to barrel; no settling to ensure maximum lees contact. Barrel fermented on heavy lees. Malolactic fermentation. 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Finished 2 months in steel tank, low Sulphur during barrel elevage.
"Wow—I just love the nose of the 2015 Chardonnay Simpatico Ranch, which sings of fresh grapefruit, lemon curd and yuzu with nuances of acacia honey, fresh ginger, lime blossoms and chopped almonds. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with a stunning array of citrus, spice and floral notions, backed by seamless freshness and packaged in a beautiful satin-textured frame, finishing with great length and depth. Yes, yes, yes! 150 cases produced. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 95+ pts
Colmant Brut Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay (Franschhoek and Robertson).
15% of the base wine has been barrel fermented.
Ageing: This wine spends a minimum of 45 months on the lees at a consistent temperature of 14C before degorgement.
Tasting: Delicate light gold color with a lime-green hue. The nose is fresh, lemony and floral with notes of green apple, followed by yeasty and biscuity aromas brought by the lengthy maturation on the lees. Very fine bead of bubbles with a persistent mousse. Opulent on the palate, this wine shows a harmonious balance between fresh zestiness, mineral complexity and a warm breadth of leesy creaminess. It promises to develop great texture over time.
Drinking tips: Ideal with pan fried scallops or line fish "au beurre blanc", it is also the oyster's best friend and will enhance the flavors of parmesan, asparagus, artichokes, parma ham,…
There are many alternatives to Champagne, and South Africa is no exception with some fine “Method Cap Classique.” Jean-Philippe Colmant hired winemaker Nicolas Follet to create a small range of impressive sparkling wines; they eschew malolactic fermentation and practice extended lees aging.- NM" - eRobertParker.com (Issue #196, August 2011), 92 pts
A blanc de blanc with the heart of Chardonnay, the NV Brut Chardonnay has focused citrus tones on the nose with notes of yellow pear and green apple. The oak is subtle here, with a solid beam of acidity through the mid-palate. The wine is thoughtful and focused, and the finish leaves my mouth watering; there is serious acidity here, and they are doing it right. Colmant is the little guy doing some really great things— quietly focused wines, with serious aging potential. Keep this small producer on your radar. I expect nothing but great things in years to come from JP Colmant and his new winemaker, Paul Gerber, formerly of Le Lude. - Anthony Mueller"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #245, October 2019), 91+ pts
"Pale straw with a ï¬ne bead and scents of biscuit and lemon zest. The NV Brut is richly ï¬‚avorful and full, a complete wine with a long ï¬nish. Tasted blind, it can easily be mistaken for good quality Champagne. Spends 4 years on the lees; 15% of the base wine is fermented in barrel. Disgorged 9 months ago. A blend of Robertson and Franschhoek grapes from the Colmant vineyard."
- I-WineReview 92 pts
"Our favorite Colmant sparkler by far, this blanc de blancs would easily pass for good quality Champagne. It’s pale straw with a fine bead with biscuit and lemon aromas. Very flavorful and complex on a rich palate with a persistent finish, it’s 100% Chardonnay, 15% barrel fermented, and spends 4 years on the lees. RS 5 g/L"
- I-WineReview 92 pts
"This NV Brut Chardonnay is delicate with fine lemon citrus and freshly baked bread notes. Shows bracing acidity on the finish. Aged on the lees for 42 months with 15% of the base wine fermented in oak. Another winner from Jean-Philippe Colmant and Nicolas Follet."
- I-WineReview, 91 pts
"Disgorged March 2011, the superb Non-Vintage Brut Chardonnay is based on the 2007 vintage, whole bunch pressed with 18% fermented in oak and 45 months on the lees. It has a very subtle, more “wine-like” bouquet with very fine delineation, dewy green apples, a touch of wet limestone and a touch of flint. The palate has good weight on the entry with fresh green apple once again mingling with a little peach and Clementine in the background leading to a racy finish.
Platter highly recommanded, **** 1/2
Voted BEST SA BLANC DE BLANCS NV at the Cap Classic Challenge 2013.
While this wine displays the poise, structure and minerality that have become hallmarks of our Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay, the warm vintage has also delivered alluring orange spice and tropical flower notes that accentuate the lovely depth and richness.
This vivid chardonnay comes from Conner Lee’s prized 1989 and 2005 ‘clone #95’ blocks—both planted with ungrafted vines in sandy-silt soils. While it displays the poise, structure and minerality that are hallmarks of Conner Lee, the warm vintage has also delivered alluring orange spice and tropical flower notes that accentuate the lovely depth and richness. On the silky palate, layers of zesty citrus mingle with chamomile, hibiscus and honeysuckle, resulting in a wine that effortlessly combines power and grace
The aromas entice with notes of wet stone, honeysuckle, chamomile and stone fruit. The palate is generous in flavor and feel, showing a fine sense of balance. Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
The Buty Winery Estate
Pronounced "Beauty", Buty winery was founded in 2000 by owners Caleb Foster and Nina Buty, inspired by a decade of vintages from Washington and overseas. An artisan producer, Buty creates vineyard designated chardonnay, a crisp white blend and nuanced red blends—including Rediviva, Washington’s pioneering blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon. The Rediviva of the Stones will be grown from the 2008 plantings at Rockgarden, their organic Estate vineyard in the cobblestones of Walla Walla.
Since the spring of 2001 they have worked with Californian consultant Zelma Long. Zelma’s multiple decades of worldwide winegrowing and winemaking offer a great breadth of wine and vine knowledge and a “whole business” perspective to Buty.
The philosophy of winegrowing and winemaking at Buty is one of balance, artisanship and enjoyment, as we aim to capture the essence of the grape in bottle.
The Buty Winery Vineyard
Caleb and Nina purchased 10 acres of apple orchard in Milton-Freewater in late 2006. In 2008, they organically prepared and planted Buty’s Estate, Rockgarden. The famous cobblestones section of the Walla Walla Valley appellation is located in the southeast part of the valley. In the 5% highest elevation of the cobblestones, this Grand Cru section has been the most prized farming section since the Walla Walla Valley was settled over one hundred years ago. Grand Cru is defined and set apart from its neighbors by location, history and consistently superior wines. We waited years to buy only here. Anywhere else further out in the cobblestones would have been a compromise. Developing the Estate with one wine in mind—the Rediviva of the Stones—we have densely planted clones of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, grenache, mourvèdre, marsanne and roussanne.
The Columbia Valley Appellation wines are sourced from six great estate grown vineyards. Caleb’s experience making wine from Champoux and Conner Lee Vineyards spans 16 vintages since 1992. All winegrowing stages are all maintained to Buty’s specific goals from pruning to shoot positioning, prevéraison cluster thinning, water and pest management, and the day and the time of harvest. They exclusively harvest by hand and hand berry sort on a shaker table before fermentation.
Domaine Odoul-Coquard Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Saints-Jacques is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir
This wine is made from 70-year-old vines that were inherited from Sebastien's grandmother. The wine is aged for 12 months in Allier barriques (95% Francois Freres) for 1 year (50% new, 25% 1 yr-old, 25% 2 yrs-old). Aux St. Jacques is located in the northern part of the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation, just south of Vosne-Romanée.
A wine that is very representative of the Nuits Saint Georges terroir. Strong, with firm tannins and a lingering finish. Ideal to wait for 3 to 5 years before tasting. A great pairing with mature cheeses and spicy meals.
Dense and smoky, revealing black cherry, blackberry, earth and sandalwood flavors. Balanced and long, with a tactile finish. Best from 2019 through 2029. 30 cases imported.- Wine Spectator 91 Points
Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Cru Fleurie Clos des Deduits is made from 100% Gamay grapes coming from the lieu dit "Montee de la Tonne".
The vineyard measures 1.5 hectare and the average age of the vines is 50 years. Yield: 48 hl/ha
Manual harvest; Semi-carbonic maceration for 10-12 days; Aging in Foudre for 3-4 months; Slight filtration.
Intense red color, subtle fruity and floral aromas of violet, berry and cinnamon. Ample in the mouth, fruit flavors. Even better after a few years of cellaring.
Excellent with red and game meats, and cheeses.
"This single vineyard with vines up to 50 years old has produced a solid, dark and structured wine. Ripe fruits give the wine weight and juicy acidity, both of which will allow it to age. Drink from 2021. - Roger Voss"
- Wine Enthusiast (January 2020), 92 pts