2009 Stonestreet "Upper Barn" Alexander Valley Chardonnay
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
All the Chardonnays are 100% Chardonnay aged in anywhere from 50% to 100% new French oak for nearly 11 months prior to being bottled. The Alexander Mountain Estate is a superb high elevation vineyard source and the Upper Barn (made famous by Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer in the decade of the nineties) is a true grand cru site for Chardonnay. The other blocks, which vary from 900 feet to a whopping 1,800 feet elevation, producing stunning Chardonnays that have abundant characteristics in common. As the scores indicate, my favorite is the 2009 Chardonnay Upper Barn simply because there is always a little more to this offering. From an 1,800 foot elevation, it reveals lots of honeyed pear, tropical fruit, brioche, nectarine and marmalade notes along with terrific acidity as well as richness. Moreover, little oak can be detected despite the fact that it (as well as its siblings) sees 50% new oak.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(14.6% alcohol, from an altitude of 1,800 feet): Very pale yellow. Captivating nose combines exotic apricot, white plum, crushed rock, brown spices and a lavender high note. Intense and tactile on entry, then tightly coiled and penetrating in the middle, a step up over the foregoing wines in its impression of acid spine. Very powerful, youthfully aggressive, palate-staining wine that will need time in bottle to open and expand. Less thick and sweet at the same stage than the 2008, but at the same time more glyceral than the 2009 Gravel Bench. A great example of a California chardonnay, by which I mean that I would not mistake it for Burgundy in a blind tasting. 94(+?)