2014 Black Kite "Soberanes Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay (Previously $43)

SKU #1314334 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard offers lots of citrus blossom and white flowers in a clean, crisp, medium to full-bodied style. Its acidity is beautifully integrated, it's impeccably balanced and a true gem in the vintage. This small, family run estate was created in 2003 by Rebecca and Tom Birdsall and Donald and Marueen Green. The wines have been made by Jeff Gaffner since 2005, and today they release four wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands, as well as a number of wines from the Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley AVAs. I was only able to look at the Santa Lucia Highlands releases for this report. Looking at these wines, Jeff prefers a three- to five-day cold soak to get as much extraction without alcohol, and malolactic is always in barrel. All of the wines are destemmed and aging is in French oak, 50% being new on average. (JD)  (9/2016)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 Lightly buttered popcorn aromas are cut by lime blossoms, sea salt and jasmine on this delicate while extremely fragrant nose. A laser-like acidity slices through the palate, where pan-seared apple flavors are lifted by lemon pith, mandarin orange skins and orange blossoms. (MK)  (8/2016)

91 points Vinous

 Limpid gold. Aromas of candied citrus fruits, yellow apple, fig and white flowers are sharpened by a zesty mineral flourish. Juicy and tightly wound on entry and then more fleshy in the middle, offering intense orchard and pit fruit flavors and a bracingly bitter touch of quinine. Orange zest and ginger notes drive a long, silky finish that features a subtle touch of buttered toast. (JR)  (7/2016)

Connoisseurs Guide

 *One Star* Given the more southern provenance of this wine and its mate immediately below, as compared to the Gap's Crown bottling, one could very well expect a fleshier, riper rendition, but, instead these wines have quite similar structures and balance. This one runs to the mineral and stones side of the spectrum at the slight expense of fruit at its heart, but its solidity and potential for better make it a wine ticketed to be enjoyed a few years hence.  (5/2016)

K&L Notes

Everyone wants to talk about Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir these days and rightfully so. The varietal put the region on the map and it is why vineyard names like Pisoni, Rosella's, Garys' and Sleepy Hollow are household talk to wine fans the world over. The problem is that people have gotten locked into the trap that the region only makes Pinot Noir. Not True! There is so much other cool stuff going on there right now. Generally speaking where Pinot Noir does well so does Chardonnay and the fantastic growers of the area have caught on and recently planted numerous sites to Chardonnay. Similar to the Pinot of the region these wines have a tendency to largesse and richness with a backbone of volcanic-esque minerality. (Bryan Brick, Domestic Buyer)

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Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/8/2017 | Send Email
Black Kite is a new winery to me, and this Chardonnay from Soberanes Vineyard impressed me. The nose is very expressive with lemon creme, yellow apple, vanilla and oak. The palate surprised me by showing lots of freshness and vibrant acidity creating a balanced, medium to full-body Chardonnay. This is a great California find if you're wanting something new.

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/4/2017 | Send Email
Crafted from Wente clone Chardonnay grown in the sandy soils of Soberanes Vineyard, this beauty is fruit forward, full bodied and powerful. True to the inherent characteristics of It's fruit source, the wine shows tropical aromas and flavors of ripe mango, fresh pineapple and lemon peel. This is one Chardonnay that has the focus and intensity to pair with richer dishes, but the versatility and flavorful charm to quaff on It's own.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/3/2017 | Send Email
The Black Kite Soberanes Vineyard is just that. A big wine, for big Chard fans but there is a twist. While most “big” Chards come more from winemaking in the cellar than anything else this wine gets its largesse from the vineyard itself. The Soberanes Vineyard is a superstar in the making, after all it is jointly owned and farmed by the two biggest names in the area-The Pisoni and Franscioni families-and still is growing out of its youthful power. With about 40% new oak and full malolactic fermentation this certainly has a frame of a certain ilk but the fruit, the raw materials, of this wine override it with splendid fig, baked apple, pistachio ice cream and hints of lavender. Never losing its granitic minerality this wine has a counterbalance to all that size and that is really what keeps this from going too overboard.

Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/2/2017 | Send Email
"Let's get tropical", to quote the famous Jackie Moon. This Chardonnay is loaded with exotic and tropical fruits. Pineapple, Mango and candied lemon are pronounced on the nose and follow to the palate. This has a tremendously rich mouth-feel and deliciously juicy acid. Soft wood spice, dried herbs and a touch of menthol help add complexity that lingers on the finish. This would go great with Caribbean style grilled shrimp skewers.

Additional Information:



- 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:

Santa Lucia Highlands