2001 Kongsgaard Napa Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1030149 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 An awesome effort, the 2001 Chardonnay may be this estate’s finest Chardonnay to date. Boasting profoundly intense notes of orange marmalade, minerals, lemon oil, and honeysuckle as well as great delineation for its massive size, this terrific Chardonnay tastes like a grand cru white Burgundy. The finish lasts for 45 seconds. Wines such as this make a mockery of some of the uneducated rhetoric coming from wine journalists who constantly criticize mediocre, over-oaked Chardonnays, but fail to identify the great ones. It is capable of lasting and evolving for a decade. (RP)  (12/2003)

95 points Wine Spectator

 A remarkably bold, rich yet elegant and refined style, with tiers of complex pear, hazelnut, honeysuckle, spice and orange/citrus peel scents. Intense and concentrated, it further folds in complex mineral, sage and a touch of marmalade. Finishes in a long, persistent aftertaste.  (4/2004)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Pale medium yellow. Slightly high-toned aromas of candied orange peel, mirabelle, smoke and exotic herbs, as in Chartreuse or Benedictine. Wonderfully restrained and precise in the mouth, with the nervosite of great Burgundy. Bright, minerally and gripping, with hints of citrus peel and exotic herbs lifted by brisk acidity. Not at all an in-your-face style of California chardonnay despite its obvious density and strong extract. This will make a killer ringer in a white Burgundy tasting six or eight years from now. Kongsgaard described 2002 as a good, "coolish" year for chardonnay, in fact the latest ever for his north-facing chardonnay vineyard in the southeastern corner of Napa Valley.  (6/2004)

K&L Notes

The mystical John Kongsgaard is one heck of a winemaker. These are low tech, artisinal offerings that eschew commercial yeasts, bacterial strains, and enzymes. Of course, they are bottled naturally, with no fining or filtration. What one gets is the essence of the varietal, vintage, and vineyard.

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.