100 Points - limited
Extremely limited new white from Rhone Valley master Chapoutier.
100 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "One of the most singular wines I’m able to taste each year is unquestionably the l’Ermite Blanc from Chapoutier and it certainly lives up to the billing in 2015. Offering what I can only describe as a liquid rock (a liqueur of rocks?) character intermixed with notes of buttered citrus, pineapple, smoked meats, charcoal and toast, the 2015 Ermitage l’Ermite is full-bodied, decadent and locked and loaded on the palate. It needs 2-3 years of cellaring and I suspect will keep for half a century."
98 Points Wine Spectator: "Bright and pure, with a beautiful core of white peach, heather, yellow apple, star fruit and mirabelle plum notes backed by light citrus oil and verbena threads on the finish. Shows energy and tension throughout, with depth in reserve thanks to a long quinine echo at the end. Really stunning. Drink now through 2040. 204 cases made."
A great new Chardonnay discovery from the Santa Rita Hills that strikes a great balance between fruit and crisp acidity thats not overoaked! Get it before the new ratings come out.
80 % of the Chardonnay grapes for this wine come from Babcock's Estate Vineyard. You get the brisk acidity and minerality from this fruit and the varietal character and flesh from the Loma Verde fruit. With a nose of pineapple and lemon meringue, it’s hard to resist. There’s a pinch of clove and maybe a little tapioca thing going on in there as well. The mouth is beautifully rich without being over the top.
A great small-produyction Napa Chardonnay from Barnett Vineyards on Spring Mountain.
Hal Barnett told us he has contracted the same parcels, same rows for years so the flavor profile and style would have an estate character. Using two Dijon clones and a Wente clone of Chardonnay, then going 22% through malolactic fermentation, winemaker David Tate has produced a delicious Chardonnay. The wine is made in a style that Chardonnay lovers could sip alone, but has the backbone and structure to succeed at the table. There are interesting layers of flavor to savor, with a floral element buried in there. Very attractive. Rich and layered, with a mix of tangerine, nectarine, spice and honeysuckle. Full-bodied, ending with a spicy, citrus- and cedar-laced finish.
Barnett Vineyards is located off of the narrow windy Spring Mountain Road which connects Napa and Sonoma Counties – about 1.5 miles in. This is a small estate winery (founded in 1983 by Hal & Fiona Barnett) located on very steep hillsides with slopes up to 35%! Their original intent was never to build a winery but rather to have a weekend private getaway location from San Francisco. For a fairly small production they make a wide variety of wines – as of our latest visit, 11 different wines are made here. They are strong believers in unique terroir sites and will source fruit from a variety of locations (not necessarily within Napa) based on where specific varietals grow best.
93 Points Parker - New release
Inaugural release of a beautiful new Chardonnay from Beringer.
Robert Parker: "Beringer’s 2015 Chardonnay Luminus shows a touch of new oak, but this is meant to highlight the ripe tropical fruit of California’s Chardonnay. This wine displays tangerine and pineapple along with hints of pear, crème brûlée and citrus blossom. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity, it should drink nicely for another 3-4 years."