Limited new release from cult Chardonnay producer Mark Aubert.
96+ Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2016 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is powerful and phenolically intense. Orchard fruit, mint, white flowers and melon are pushed forward. Deep and ample on the palate, with tremendous structure, the 2016 has a lot to offer. Although very much tightly wound today, the Ritchie is one of the most promising wines in the range."
previous vintage 98 Points Robert Parker: ""From Aubert’s oldest vines, the Chardonnay Ritchie is made from the 40-year-old Chardonnay clone called Old Wente. Candied citrus, wet rocks, Granny Smith apples, white peach and honeysuckle notes are found in this full-bodied, prodigious Chardonnay with crisp acidity buttressing the viscous, full-throttle style. All of these 2013s have at least a decade of aging potential."
...Mark Aubert is one of the contenders for California’s finest practitioner of Burgundian-styled, yet classic, California Chardonnays. His offerings are all made like grand cru Burgundies with full malolactic, the use of French oak and lees stirring, but the purity of fruit, the textural dimensions, and the stunning singularity of these Chardonnays can only be matched by a handful of other Chardonnay producers in the world.. Mark Aubert previously worked at Peter Michael, where he apprenticed under his most famous mentor, Helen Turley, followed by stints at Colgin and Futo, two very high-end cult Cabernet Sauvignon producers. His Chardonnays have become enormously popular and sell out as quickly as they become available to consumers. The 2013 Chardonnays are going to be as extraordinary in quality. Aubert uses high percentages of new French oak in the upbringing for his Chardonnays, but you would never know that when tasting. These wines- are all simply remarkable."
The third vintage of Dave Phinney's Disciples Red, the 2015 has arrived. The new Prisoner! Limited.
previous vintage 94 Points Robert Parker: "The Disciples Proprietary Blend, which is made from 93% Zinfandel and 7% Petite Sirah tips the scales at 15.7% alcohol. The Zinfandel plantings date from the 1880s and were better known as the source for Biale’s Old Crane Zinfandel. This wine displays spicy, peppery steak tartare, roast Provençal herbs, and briary black cherry and blackberry fruit. It has terrific body, length, richness and viscosity. It is a sensational Zinfandel to drink over the next 5-7 years."
From the new winery The Crane Assembly, the Disciples Red has quite a back story. In August of 2012, four friends (Dave Phinney, Darryl Browman, Kevin A. Fox and Bryan D. Sandoli) stood in the middle of a block of hundred year old Zinfandel. The vineyard was planted by George Beldon Crane in the late nineteenth century and is one of the icons of the Napa Valley. Hours earlier they had signed the paperwork to buy the vineyard and it was just in the nick of time...they picked the grapes the next morning. Since that first year wines were made from our G.B. Crane Vineyard under the el Coco label and the GB Crane label.