97 points - limited
Limited new release from cult Chardonnay producer Mark Aubert.
97 Points Robert Parker: "From a somewhat warmer site on thin, volcanic soils overlooking the Russian River, Eastside—originally a collaboration between Ulises Valdez and Mark Aubert—features a Montrachet selection planted on riparia rootstock. Despite plenty of new French oak in the élevage, there's only a faintly fumé, crushed-stone character on the nose, which nicely sets off the wine's white peach and lime notes. Full-bodied and generous but sturdily built, with an imposing structure, the 2021 Chardonnay Eastside is powerful and long on the finish. The crop was virtually wiped out by a spring frost in 2020, but the vines rebounded in 2021, yielding 1,400 cases."
...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."
One of California's finest Viogniers from the Master John Alban. Very limited.
93 points Robert Parker: "I continue to think John's Central Coast Viognier is one of the best values out there. The Alban Viognier has a wonderful, classic perfume: honeysuckle and quince with an intense core of peachy fruit plus accents of honeyed oats, baker’s yeast and citrus peel. The palate is medium-bodied, intensely flavored and extraordinarily fresh, finishing very long. So lovely!"
92 Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "Pale green-hued yellow. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of mineral-accented white peach, Anjou pear, melon and orange zest carry a bright floral overtone that gains strength with air. Juicy, fresh and densely packed, displaying a suave interplay of richness and vivacity to the orchard and pit fruit flavors. Shows impressive power and definition on the strikingly long finish, which strongly echoes the peach and floral qualities."
91 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "The Alban Viognier Central Coast and is a serious winner. Possessing an elegant, medium to full-bodied, ultra-pure profile as well as classic notes of caramelized citrus, white flowers, and hints of orange marmalade, it’s well worth a multi-bottle purchase and will keep for 2-3 years."
John Alban is a pioneering central coast master of Rhône varietals, and his Alban Vineyards label is one of the most sought-out sources for what many consider the pinnacle expressions of these grapes in California. His Viognier wines are routinely hailed as top examples of the varietal, and not just from his neighbors, but from many of the top players in Condrieu as well. From the winery: "We make two Viogniers: A Central Coast bottling that is often more than 75% from our own vineyard, and an Estate bottling. The former showcases the forward heady stone fruit of this variety. It is fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel and bottled early."
One of the best Napa Valley Sauvignon Blancs we've discovered, from one of our favorite Napa producers Altmura.
The Altamura 2019 Sauvignon Blanc comes from the winery's 4-acre 18-year-old dry-farmed vineyard which sits at an altitude of 850 feet. The wine is fermented and aged in new French oak barrels for 18 months resulting in a wine of great depth and complexity, displaying the flavor and textural profile more like a white Bordeaux than a California Sauvignon Blanc. Very limited production of 500 cases.