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WINE OF THE DAY 11/20/15 Kongsgaard Chardonnay $120

November 20, 2015

95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

  The spectacular 2013 Chardonnay (1,500 cases) exhibits notes of white peach, hints of apricots, pineapples and wet rocks and is amazingly full-bodied, fresh, rich, broad and savory with great fruit on the attack. It should turn out to be one of the estate’s finest Chardonnays given its fresh acids and minerality that buttress the wine’s big, bold, exuberant style. Drink now through 2022. The mystical John Kongsgaard came out of the Newton winemaking factory where he was mentored by the great Michel Rolland. However, he has had his own operation for many years in the cool Coombsville hills east of the town of Napa. He also uses purchased fruit from some of Napa’s finest growers, particularly the Hudson Vineyard. His estate includes six acres on Atlas Peak and six acres in Coombsville, and he is in the process of clearing another tract for planting. Although his total acreage is small, the wines are artisanal, individualistic and filled with personality and flavor. Anyone who believes Kongsgaard wines are too alcoholic or rich is missing out on some of the world’s most pleasure-filled and complex elixirs. The Chardonnays include a basic cuvée, which comes from selected parcels John Kongsgaard has long worked with in the Hudson and Hyde vineyards (from Old Wente clonal materials).   (10/2014)

95 points Antonio Galloni

  Orange blossom, mint, wild flowers and lightly tropical fruit open up in the 2013 Chardonnay. Rich, plus and beautifully layered throughout, the 2013 possesses dazzling texture through to the ample, creamy finish. Just as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel, the 2013 is a real knock-out. I walk into John Kongsgaard's barn-like winery on a late September afternoon just as the early dawn sets in over the hills of Atlas Peak. The first thing I see among the clutter of equipment is a photo of composer Gustav Mahler taped to one of the tanks. I ask Kongsgaard if he can put something on as I set up my computer and get settled in. His choice? The last movement of the 9th Symphony. Wow. Talk about going for it all. But that's exactly how Kongsgaard's wines are; bold, dramatic and full of ebbs and flows. The music goes off and the wines go on, and they are fabulous. In 2014, the wines are intensely mineral and savory. The 2013s are much more opulent. Both vintages look like they will be slow to mature. Other than that, it's still very much a down home affair here, with John Kongsgaard's wife Maggie, and son Alex both very much involved. .  (9/2015)

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