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Kistler Vineyards Vine Hill Chardonnay 2003

Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • RP98
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • RP96
  • WS93
  • WS91
  • RP96
  • WS94
  • RP96
  • WS93
  • RP96
  • WS92
  • RP95
  • RP95
  • WS92
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

Produced since 1991. The vineyard that surrounds the winery. This is dry farmed Chardonnay grown in a deep, sandy subset of the Gold Ridge soil series that seemingly has no bottom. The vines mine the nutrient poor sands to produce a wine of unparalleled energy and verve. One of our perennial favorites due to its resounding natural acids and low pH which strike a perfect balance with the stone fruit body and notes of toasted hazelnut.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
From the vineyard surrounding the winery, the 2003 Chardonnay Vine Hill looks to be one of the candidates for the Chardonnay of the vintage. Truly profound stuff, with a stunning nose of tangerines, orange marmalade, and lemon custard, this layered, full-bodied wine has superb purity, striking minerality, and builds incrementally in the mouth, finishing with rather high-toned flavors that are buttressed by good, crisp acidity. It is a prodigious Chardonnay and comes across like a California version of Chevalier-Montrachet.
Range: 96-98
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Intense and marked by rich, smoky hazelnut flavors from oak, with baked pear and earthy fig flavors that pick up a cedary oak edge on the finish.
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Kistler Vineyards

Kistler Vineyards

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Kistler Vineyards, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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Founded in 1978, Kistler Vineyards is a small, family-owned and operated winery specializing in the production of Burgundian style Chardonnay and limited amounts of Pinot Noir. Grapes are estate grown and purchased from vineyards in Sonoma County. In 1992, Kistler Vineyards moved all production to its Vine Hill Road Vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

LSB123548_2003 Item# 123548