2004 Aubert "Ritchie Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

SKU #1043277 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 From a vineyard that seems to do well no matter who is making the wine, the 2004 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is tropical fruit-dominated with classic California notes of creme brulee, roasted pineapples, hazelnuts, brioche, and plenty of spice. It’s a stunningly full-bodied, exotic, in-your-face offering with terrific underlying acidity. This savory, fresh, vibrant, well-delineated white should last for 7-8 years. This Chardonnay tends to be aged in 100% new oak (which is totally concealed) and is bottled without fining or filtration. Consequently, if it has just been shipped or moved, it can reveal a slight haze. (RP)  (12/2006)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Slightly hazy appearance. Musky, highly complex aromas of crystallized lemon peel, pineapple and smoke. Fat and sweet but shapely, with wonderfully tactile flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and minerals. As round and seamlessly sweet as this is, there's a restraint to the fruit thanks to its terrific acid/alcohol balance. Finishes chewy and gripping, with powerful ripe fruit flavors. This is from a '71 planting; perhaps due to the age of the vines, the crop level here was a fairly normal 2.5 tons per acre, while Aubert's other three chardonnays, from younger vines, were in the 1 to 1.5 ton range. This vineyard was harvested last, in mid-September, after the extended heat wave subsided. (ST)  (5/2006)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Distinctive for its creamy pear, hazelnut, green apple and honeydew melon flavors that are silky and refined, finishing with a long, lingering yet delicate aftertaste. Deceptively concentrated. (JL)  (6/2006)

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Price: $109.99
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- 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.

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.


- 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:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).