- Item #: i_200034Bottle Size: 1.5LWine Advocate: 92ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay VGW has very pretty aromas of crushed apples, roasted almonds and hay with touches of dried white flowers and savory green herbs in the background. In the mouth, it's delicately styled and incredibly silky in texture, fleshing out to savory fruits and enlivened by seamless acidity on the long, lifted finish. 628 cases produced."
- Item #: i_200013Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Chehalem Mountain takes time to open on the nose. It's worth the wait, unfolding to gorgeous aromas of spring honey, hazelnuts, flint, pastry and a rich core of quince paste and floral perfume. Medium-bodied, the palate is incredibly silky, its broad, rich character refreshed by bright acidity, finishing elegantly and flavorful. This is a savory, mineral-driven Chardonnay that has the structure and flesh to give plenty more with bottle time. 54 cases were made."
- Item #: i_241020Bottle Size: 750mlMaxem is the personal project of Sam and Nancy Kaplan. Sam, in his winemaking career, has been on the ground floor of some of Napa Valley’s most exciting wine projects in recent history (including Arkenstone, Memento Mori, and Vangone), helping to plant vineyards, build wineries and cement reputations with wines that speak of the unparalleled sites in which they’re grown. Nancy, as a chef, spent years in top restaurants in New York and Napa Valley, honing her craft and her palate beside celebrated chefs who demanded nothing less than perfection.
In Latin, MAXEM has the distinction of meaning "best of the best." It also combines the proprietors' two children's names, Max and Emma. Hence, for this wine, nothing but the best vineyard would suffice...enter Ulisis Valdez. Ulises was an immigrant who worked for others for decades before striking out on his own. He namaged to find a parcel that he felt would produce some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the entirety of the Sonoma Coast. He was right, as the fruit from his vineyard has produced some of the highest scoring wines ever to come out of Sonoma! this Chardonnay is produced from the famed Wente clone of Chardonnay, grown on the UV property.
- Item #: i_248780Bottle Size: 750mlLet's be honest, when you have such notables as Randy Dunn, Helen Turley, Erin Green, and Michel Rolland having worked for a winery, you know great things are afoot! Jayson Pahlmeyer and his crew have worked hard for 30 years to produce the best Cabernets, Merlots, Pinot Noirs, and Chardonnays they possibly could, and they have succeeded year after year! The Pahlmeyer wines are highly sought after, receive lofty scores, and are coveted by consumers and collectors alike.
This year, it is their Napa Valley Chardonnay garnering the spotlight! Coming from Pahlmeyer's estate high on Atlas Peak, the vineyard ranges in elevation from 1,500 to 2,100 feet. The vineyard was planted by Davis Abreu, whose skilled hand has also worked with Screaming Eagle, Staglin, and Harlan. This site is rocky and desolate, with low vigor and good drainage; perfect for grapes!
- Item #: i_230420Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 95Jeb Dunnuck: 98JEB DUNNUCK 98 POINTS - "Last of the Chardonnay and first made in 1991, the 2018 Chardonnay Richard Dinner Vineyard comes from a vineyard in the Sonoma Mountain AVA and spent 15 months in 53% new French oak. It's certainly the most exotic Chardonnay in the lineup, with a complex bouquet of Meyer lemons, flower oil, toasted spice, candle wax, and honeyed citrus. Rich, full-bodied, and stacked on the palate, it has loads of fruit, vibrant acidity, and a great finish. It's another powerful, concentrated Chardonnay."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Richard Dinner Vineyard is quite floral and perfumed in this vintage. Jasmine, white pepper, mint and lemon peel give the 2018 a brilliant aromatic upper register. In most vintages the Richard Dinner Chardonnay is distinguished by more of a phenolic character, but the 2018 is all about lift and energy."
- Item #: i_230500Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95Vinous Media: 95Decanter: 96JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "Loads of caramelized peach, toasted spices, brioche, and honeyed citrus emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay Ross Station Estate, one of the richer, more powerful Chardonnay in the lineup. Nevertheless, it has beautiful acidity, flawless balanced, and a great finish. Brought up in 50% new French oak, it's drinking spot on today and shows the vintage nicely. It will also age well for 4-6 years, probably longer, but there's no need to delay gratification."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Ross Station Estate opens with toast and flint, segueing to golden apple, white flowers and salted almonds. The medium-bodied, satiny palate is singing, bursting with juicy, savory flavors and finishing very long. 317 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The Chardonnay Ross Station Estate is especially fine in 2018. Rich and explosive in the glass, the 2018 possesses terrific depth and a real sense of energy really drives the orchard fruit and floral flavors. Soaring aromatics and soft contours give this exuberant, inviting Chardonnay tons of sheer appeal. The 2018 is class personified."
- Item #: i_244840Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 97If you do not yet know the name Paul Lato, and you haven't heard us talking about him in our store, then it's time to listen up! We are telling you right now that Paul Lato is producing some of the most exciting Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Syrahs coming out of California's Central Coast!
After working as a Sommelier in Toronto, Paul decided to change gears and work in winemaking. After working with Jim Clenden at Au Bon Climat, Paul started making his first wines. Before he even had a name, esteemed critic Robert Parker tasted the wines and suggested that Paul hurry up and come up with a label, because Paul had true talent. Paul only works with premier vineyards; he tastes wines from other producers who use fruit from a potential vineyard, and if that wine excites him, then he tries to get the best fruit from the property.
Paul makes several different wines, but he does not make a large amount of any one bottling. In fact, he often makes just a few hundred cases of a particular label, which means getting your hands on them is even harder. However, our buyer has known Paul for well over a decade, so we tend to get a rather generous allocation...thanks Paul!
The scores for Paul's wines have only been going up and up. In fact, one of his Syrahs received 100 points! We just received a few releases this week, and we felt the need to bring these incredible wines to your attention before they're all gone!
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "A great California success story, Polish immigrant Paul Lato started as a cellar hand in a Santa Maria co-op/custom crush and has worked his way up to being one of the leading producers of artisanal, world class wines in California today. Lato fashions a bevy of wines (I would normally say too many, yet given the quality he's able to achieve, the more the merrier) including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. These aren't lightweight wines, yet they never lose their sense of balance and elegance. I always describe the wines as having a slightly Old World style, but with one foot planted firmly in California. As I hope the reviews show, his 2018s are incredible wines across the board."
"The 2018 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard comes from a site outside of Santa Maria and was brought up in 60% new French oak. Awesome notes of white flowers, white currants, toasted spices, honeysuckle and a touch of spice all emerge from this ultra-classic, medium to full-bodied, seamless beauty. It does everything right and is just a classy effort."
- Item #: i_248840Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98+Vinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 95Jayson Pahlmeyer’s eponymous label is one of the more sought-after wines produced in the Napa Valley. After falling in love with Burgundy, and almost purchasing two grand cru vineyards, Jayson was drawn to the possibility of purchasing property in California that could emulate the best from Burgundy. His then winemaker Helen Turley took notice of a vineyard in Sonoma Coast that was just down the road from her own vineyard, and Helen understood well the extraordinary character of fruit this land could yield. The fruit was blended into the Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, but the Wayfarer Vineyard’s exceptional fruit presented an irrefutable cause for its own namesake label. Barrel fermented using 100% native yeasts, this is a majestic Chardonnay that must be tasted to truly understand its immense quality.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98+ POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Wayfarer Vineyard opens with explosive perfume! Gunflint, spring honey, white flowers and salted almonds mingle over rich quince paste and warm apple fruit. The palate is equally as compelling, its powerful, rich layers of flavor packed into an ultra silky frame, offering bright pops of juiciness and a finish that goes on forever. Wow! It's stunning now but may improve with more time in bottle."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Wayfarer Vineyard is a fitting conclusion to this tasting of 2018s. Rich and viscous in the glass, with terrific energy, the 2018 is wonderfully complete, not to mention incredibly delicious. Lemon confit, white pepper, mint, jasmine and light tropical notes develop in the glass, but it is the wine's textural feel that really stands out. The 2018 is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. The Wayfarer Vineyard spent 16 months in oak, about 70% new."
JEB DUNNUCK 95+ POINTS - "From the estate vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation and barrel fermented (all native yeast) and aged 15 months in 70% new French oak, the 2018 Chardonnay Wayfarer Vineyard offers a classic and slightly Burgundian style in its caramelized orchard fruits, toasted nuts, brioche, and white flower-laced aromas and flavors. Showing a touch marine-like salinity with time in the glass, it's medium to full-bodied and has good concentration, integrated acidity, and a great finish. Give it a year and it will drink nicely for a decade."
- Item #: i_272140Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Tasting Notes: "On the nose, aromas of Meyer lemon and green apple abound, with highlights of chamomile flowers and elements of greengage, which offer complexity and intrigue. The oak is well integrated and nearly invisible in this elegant offering from our cool climate estate vineyard in Guerneville. Included in the blend for the first time are newly developed blocks planted to heritage Calera and Wente Chardonnay clones. On the mid-palate, there is a lift of Meyer lemon peel and green tea notes. Due to the new plantings, the palate has an excellent tannin structure and finishes with elements of crushed minerals."