2001 Kongsgaard Napa Valley Chardonnay
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)
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.
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.
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.