1995 Kalin Cellars "Cuvee W" Livermore Valley Chardonnay
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.