2012 Paul Lato "Kokoro" Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

SKU #1322965 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A new cuvee, and about as classy as they come, the 2012 Chardonnay Kokoro is a departure from the single vineyard releases and comes 60% from Sierra Madre, 30% from Hilliard Bruce and 20% from Pisoni. Like all of Paul’s Chardonnays, it was barrel-fermented and then aged 16 months in 60% new French oak. Its light/medium gold color is followed by fabulous aromatics of lemon curd, stone fruits, honey blossom, white flowers and subtle rising bread-like nuances. Showing both incredible purity and building richness, this beauty flows onto the palate with lively, integrated acidity, thrilling purity and a finish that won’t quite. In short, it’s an incredible Chardonnay that will thrill for at least 4-5 years, if not longer. (JD)  (8/2014)

94 points Vinous

 The Chardonnay Kokoro is stunning in its beauty. A precise, crystalline wine, the 2012 has it all; expressive aromatics, nuanced fruit and plenty of fine, chiseled minerality. Tangerine peel, slate, apricots, mint and almonds are some of the many notes that resonate on the broad-shouldered, ample finish. Overall, the Kokoro is a wine of volume and depth. Kokoro is a two-barrel blend on the best wines Paul Lato has in the cellar. The 2012 is 60% Le Souvenir, 20% Belle de Jour and 20% East of Eden. (AG)  (7/2014)

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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:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.