2014 Kongsgaard "The Judge" Napa Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1285239 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Chardonnay The Judge (275 cases) emerges from his best parcel, which was planted in 1976 and 1990 on St. George rootstock in rocky, malnourished soils that rarely give up more than one ton of fruit per acre. This is a fabulous Chardonnay, and certainly one of the Chardonnays of the vintage. Rocky minerality intermixed with lemon custard, orange blossom, pineapple and white peach are all present in this big, complex, sensational Chardonnay to drink over the next decade or more. (RP)  (12/2016)

96 points Wine Spectator

 In this style, there's nothing better in California. Serves up a medley of rich, exotic pineapple and tropical fruit flavors that are as broad as they are deep. Most impressive on the finish, where the flavors coat the palate and linger, with fig and apricot details adding to the pleasure. Buttery oak folds in nicely. Drink now through 2020. 372 cases made. (JL)  (6/2017)

95 points Vinous

 Another highlight in this tasting, the 2014 Chardonnay The Judge is developing into a magnificent wine. Silky, gracious and lifted, the 2014 offers plenty of nuance. Lemon confit, hazelnut, orchard fruit and slate build as this sweeping, creamy Chardonnay shows off its personality. (AG)  (12/2016)

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Price: $449.99
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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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.