97 points - limited
Limited new Chardonnay from cult producer Paul Lato. First time available!
97 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "From a great site outside of Santa Maria, the 2020 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard is another ripe, powerful Chardonnay revealing musky notes of melon, honeyed lemon, toasted bread, and hints of almond paste and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, concentrated, and layered on the palate, it stays remarkably light on its feet, has good acidity, and a great finish that picks up some classic Santa Maria salinity and minerality. It's not for those looking for Chablis, but it’s beautifully done and a gorgeous California Chardonnay to drink over the coming 4-6 years....
...A great California success story, Polish immigrant Paul Lato started as a cellar hand in a Santa Maria co-op/custom crush and has worked his way up to being one of the leading producers of artisanal, world class wines in California today. Lato fashions a bevy of wines (I would normally say too many, yet given the quality he’s able to achieve, the more the merrier) including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. These aren’t lightweight wines, yet they never lose their sense of balance and elegance. I always describe the wines as having a slightly Old World style, but with one foot planted firmly in California. As I hope the reviews show, his 2018s are incredible wines across the board.
96 Points Robert Parker: "The 2018 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard is a gorgeous, multidimensional wine that opens with loads of spicy accents and touches of toast, honeysuckle and baked apples. It's satiny and expansive in the mouth, packed to the gills with ripe, spicy flavor layers and finishing very long with great freshness that calls you in for another sip. Pure class! 225 cases produced."
...I continue to be blown away by the wines of Paul Lato, and these are unquestionably some of the most profound and exciting wines coming from the Central Coast today. The lineup has grown substantially over the past decade, and Lato now releases upwards of five Chardonnays, six Pinot Noirs, two Grenaches, three Syrahs, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Malvasia. Despite the number of wines, quality hasn’t slipped an inch, and the wines show incredible site and varietal typicity always paired with sensational fruit and balance. In short, don’t miss these wines!"
This California Chardonnay is made by one of the greatest Tuscan wineries: Antinori. Known for their Super Tuscans, this California estate wine lives up to their greatly deserved reputation with this lovely Burgundian style Chardonnay.
98 points - limited
Arista is one of California's leading Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers under the helm of winemaker Matt Courtney (Marcassin, Ferren), Limited.
previous vintage 98 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "From one of the Grand Cru sites in the Russian River, the Arista Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard saw the standard 12 months in one-third new French oak followed by six months in stainless steel. Buttered pineapple, nectarines, honeyed flowers, almond paste, toasted bread, and honeysuckle notes all emerge from the glass, and this beauty is full-bodied on the palate and flawlessly balanced. The purity of fruit is just about off the charts, and it has good acidity as well as a great mid-palate. This quintessential Russian River Chardonnay shows the classic power and richness of this appellation while also possessing freshness, elegance, and balance. Hats off to Matt Courtney for another tremendous wine....With the wines made by Matt Courtney, this Russian River estate continues to make some of the best wines in the vintage."
95 Points Robert Parker: "The Arista Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is a stunning wine. It offers singular aromas of guava, grapefruit peel and musky hints with layers of tangerine, green herbs, crushed stone and hints of elderflower. The medium-bodied palate is very expressive with kaleidoscopic flavor layers and addicting juiciness, finishing long and ever-changing in the mouth. This is a flamboyant expression that can be drunk immediately or cellared for a few years."
100 points - limited
* Rare Magnum (1.5L) bottle* - Limited new release from cult Chardonnay producer Mark Aubert.
100 Points Robert Parker: "Aubert noted that this is his coolest site and usually the last to be harvested. Located near the Hyde Estate winery, by virtue of chilly afternoon breezes, it is indeed among the coolest sites on the Napa side of the Los Carneros AVA. This section is planted to Corton-Charlemagne clone on St. George rootstock. A barrel sample, it is being aged in 50% new French oak barrels... Whoa—the Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons explodes from the glass with bombastic scents of sea spray, freshly shaved ginger, lemon curd and grapefruit plus emerging hints of green guava, lime cordial and coriander seed with a waft of struck flint. Full-bodied, rich and lively, the palate is remarkably fruity and yet possesses loads of mineral sparks and savory nuances, finishing very long and spicy. This vintage no doubt played to the strengths of this site beautifully in 2019, delivering a very impressive wine of amazing singularity and intensity."
...Mark Aubert continues to set the bar incredibly high for the world-class quality of his Burgundian-styled, remarkable Chardonnays, which come from relatively cool sites spread from Rutherford in Napa Valley to the far reaches of the Sonoma Coast. As I indicated last year, Aubert is at the top of his game, and it is hard to believe any Chardonnay winemaker in the world is turning out a half-dozen Chardonnays at this qualitative level year in and year out. He has had an incredible run of great success, after being mentored by none other than the reclusive and supremely talented Helen Turley when he took over the winemaking job at Peter Michael, then proceeded on to impressive sojourns at Colgin Estate as well as Tom Futo’s winery in Oakville."