1995 Kalin Cellars "Cuvee W" Livermore Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1199753 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 20-year-old 1995 Chardonnay Cuvee W that’s just being released is from the Old Wente clone and, again, 100% from the Wente Estate Vineyard. This was aged for ten months in French oak, of which 50% was new, and bottled without filtration in 1996. Now, 19 years later, Terry Leighton is releasing it. The color is suspiciously dark gold, which at first brings up the specter of oxidation, but the wine is not the least bit “old.” It is fresh, lively and explodes on the mouth with fresh white currants, quince, honeysuckle, buttery brioche, white peach and tropical fruits. The wine looks bizarre, but tastes great, and in many ways reflects its eccentric owner. This is a full-bodied wine with great acidity, and only fate knows how much longer it will last, but I suspect it’s got at least another decade in it. Leave it to idiosyncratic and contrarian winemaker and owner of Kalin Cellars, Terry Leighton, to be the sole person in California to release wines after “only” 14 years in the case of the Sauvignon Blanc, and 20 years in the case of the Chardonnay! His wines have incredible aging potential, and I’ve got many an old vintage of Kalin in my cellars – the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – to attest to their ageability.  (10/2015)

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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, 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:

Livermore

- Just east of San Francisco, among an ever-sprawling suburban landscape, Livermore produces the usual suspects with a concentration on hearty grapes like cabernet and zin, which can withstand the screaming summer heat.