1996 Kistler "Dutton Ranch" Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Green-gold. Extraordinarily penetrating, musky, Burgundian aromas are a cross between Chassagne truffle and herbs and Meursault roasted grain and toasted nuts (and the structure is akin to that of a Puligny). Great purity and intensity of fruit in the mouth; sharply focused and restrained today, with near-perfect fruit/acid balance. Finishes with terrific grip and palate-staining persistence.
Starts out smoky and toasty, turning focus to the ripe pear, fig, apricot and anise flavors, with a touch of hazelnut on the aftertaste.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The flamboyant 1996 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch offers the tell-tale concoction of tropical fruit intertwined with smoky, meaty aromas. The wine possesses tangy acidity for a 1996, as well as provocative, rich, intense flavors that have obviously enjoyed plenty of lees stirring, and high quality French oak. This is a tasty, excellent, possibly outstanding wine that is more tightly-knit than usual. It is a candidate for 3-5 years of cellaring. All the Kistler Chardonnays are made in a Burgundian manner. They are barrel-fermented, given full malolactic fermentation, extensive lees stirring, racked out of their barrels following a year's cask aging, and allowed to settle in tank until bottling, which usually occurs without any fining or filtration. All of the wines reviewed in this segment were tasted from tank as they were awaiting bottling early next year.
Deep coppery gold. Toasted popcorn but enough acidity to be really very impressive. Very long and throat-warming. This has lasted beautifully. (18/20 Score)