2003 Aubert "Ritchie Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

SKU #1083408 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Reminiscent of a Batard-Montrachet, the light straw/greenish-colored 2003 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard boasts a huge, opulent, tropical fruit, roasted hazelnut, brioche, and spice box-scented bouquet. Notions of orange marmalade and citrus oil also emerge in the flavors. Full-bodied and spectacularly concentrated, it is the finest effort I have tasted from this cold climate vineyard. (RP)  (12/2005)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright, pale yellow. Deep, highly complex nose melds grapefruit, pineapple, citrus skin, gunflint, light sulfides and a suggestion of charry oak. Then extremely intense in the mouth, with superb acidity giving definition to the powerful flavors. Wonderfully nuanced wine with strong mineral and soil tones. Savory rather than overly sweet. Aubert describes this as his version of Batard-Montrachet, saying it has more volume and acidity than the otherworldly 2002, which rated 96 points a year ago. I don't find this quite as tactile today but it may well be an even larger wine. (ST)  (6/2005)

94 points Vinous

 Once again, the 2003 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is imbued with the essence of salinity and minerality. The fruit is now a bit faded, with more honeyed notes that dominate, but there is plenty to admire. Orange peel, flowers and savory herbs open up nicely in the glass. The Ritchie is a bit brighter than the 2003 Lauren tasted alongside it, although it is a bit less suave on the palate. Still, there is no question the 2003 has developed beautifully in bottle. (AG)  (1/2015)

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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, M√Ęcon, 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:

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).