Kongsgaard The Judge Chardonnay 2003
Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
Fifth-generation Napa natives, Maggy and I began our endeavor in the 1970s planting The Judge vineyard on the Kongsgaard family land near Napa. The inaugural Kongsgaard wines came in 1996. We now produce The Judge, Chardonnay, VioRous, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in our underground winery a cave dug into the volcanic rock, high on the eastern rim of the Napa Valley where we have planted a spectacular mountain vineyard. We also direct the farming under long-term contracts on several perfect acres in the Napa Carneros and near the winery. These intensely farmed, shy-bearing vineyards and our traditional low-intervention winemaking produce powerful, graceful wines vivid expressions of vineyard and variety. Production is limited to what we, with our son Alex, can make with our own hands.
The Wine Advocate - "The Chardonnay of the vintage is the 2003 Chardonnay The Judge. At $175, it may be California’s most expensive Chardonnay, but what a remarkable wine! Tightly-wound as well as super-concentrated, it represents the essence of a terroir and varietal character. Sadly, there are only 100 cases of this remarkable effort. "
International Wine Cellar - " Kongsgaard makes this wine from what he describes as "visually perfect fruit" from the family's vineyard in southeastern Napa Valley Extravagant aromas of orange blossom, apricot, nuts, butterscotch and light sulfides. Dense but ur gent in the mouth; at least as lush and concentrated as the "regular" chardonnay but with extraordinary vibrancy and great acid spine. Captivating, downright Burgundian notes of roasted almond and minerals. Kongsgaard notes that the alcohol in these four chardonnays is just under 15%."
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About Napa Valley
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.