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Kongsgaard Chardonnay 2010

Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
  • WS95
  • RP93
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

#5 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2013

John Kongsgaard is at the top of the Chardonnay game in California, with wines that feature balance, grace and elegance. Refining his winemaking style over the years, he focuses on low yields and barrel fermenting with native yeasts. Kongsgaard, now with his son Alex by his side, lets this wine age in barrel for two years, which adds nuance and gives the wine a chance to settle naturally, so that it can be bottled unfiltered.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 95
Wine Spectator
A tour de force that stretches the range of flavors, rich and laden with roasted, smoky marshmallow, showing tiers of marmalade, tangerine, roasted fig and fig tapenade, sailing along seamlessly through the finish.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Kongsgaard’s 2010 Chardonnay wraps around the palate with juicy, yellow, fleshy fruit, smoke and spices. There is pungent, aromatic intensity in the bouquet of these old Wente Chardonnay clones that gives the wine its aromatic heft. Layers of fruit build to the textured, inviting finish. In another year, the oak should be even better integrated than it is today. These parcels are planted with a combination of a Hudson selection of Wente with no seeds and a Muscat version of Wente.
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Kongsgaard

Kongsgaard

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Kongsgaard, Napa Valley, California
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Fifth-generation Napa natives, Maggy and John Kongsgaard began their endeavor in the 1970s planting The Judge vineyard on their family land near Napa. The inaugural Kongsgaard wines came in 1996. Now, Kongsgaard produces The Judge, Chardonnay, VioRous, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in their underground winery—a cave dug into the volcanic rock, high on the eastern rim of the Napa Valley where they have planted a spectacular mountain vineyard. Kongsgaard also directs 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 Kongsgaard's traditional low-intervention winemaking produce powerful, graceful wines—vivid expressions of vineyard and variety. Production is limited to what Maggy and John, with their son Alex, can make with their own hands.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

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 is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy 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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

KHM127806_2010 Item# 127806