Kistler Vineyards Cuvee Cathleen Chardonnay 2017
Made from fruit solely from one specific block at the Kistler Vineyard, the only section of the vineyard that has a broken shale uplift that dominates the red volcanics and faces the afternoon sun as opposed to the morning. Since its planting in 1989, the block stood out in our minds, and clearly called for a separate bottling. Produces one of our most classic, complex and complete chardonnays and nears perfection on an annual basis.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The differences from one Kistler Chardonnay to the next are by and large more subtle than striking, which should come as no surprise given that, regardless of site, the winery has worked with a single Chardonnay clone for more than thirty years and the winemaking regime for each is largely the same. But, differences there are by dint of terroir, and here the wine sports a distinctive stony streak to its concentrated, many layered aromas that cuts through its ripe, well-extracted flavors and stays ahead of comparatively constrained fruit. Still on the decidedly tight side and a little chalky and hard-edged at the finish, it is the one among the many Kistler offerings that is most demanding of age, and, if a wine of enormous promise with a chance to grow into one of the best of the bunch in time, it will evolve slowly at its own pace and needs to be set aside for a minimum of three or four years
Perhaps the most historically significant appellation in Sonoma County, the Sonoma Valley is home to both Buena Vista winery, California's oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California's oldest family-run winery.
It is also one of the more geologically and climactically diverse districts. The valley includes and overlaps four distinct Sonoma County sub-appellations, including Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley. With mountains, benchlands, plains, abundant sunshine and the cooling effects of the nearby Pacific, this appellation can successfully produce a wide range of grape varieties. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and most notably, Zinfandel all thrive here. Ancient Zinfandel vines over 100 years old produce small crops of concentrated, spicy fruit, which in turn make some of the Valley's most unique wines. These can also be made as “field blends” (wines made from a mix of grape varieties grown in the same vineyard) along with Petite Sirah, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.