A great small-production Chardonnay from Barnett Vineyards on Spring Mountain.
93+ Points Robert Parker: "The Barnett Chardonnay Sangiacomo Vineyard opens with a gorgeous nose of spice cake, candied ginger, lemon butter and marzipan over a core of apricots, Bosc pears and apple pie. Medium-bodied, the palate bursts with intense citrus and apple flavors plus loads of spicy accents with a racy backbone and satiny texture, finishing long with beautiful savoriness."
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.
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.