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1994 Marcassin "Gauer Upper Barn" Alexander Valley Chardonnay (bin soiled label)

SKU #930081 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1994 Chardonnay Gauer Ranch-Upper Barn is a mind-boggling effort. It exhibits a medium straw color with a rich looking, thick texture. Intense aromas of orange blossoms, honey, cherries, and well-integrated, spicy new oak are followed by a lavishly rich, full-bodied, unctuously-textured wine. Gorgeously pure, with layers of fruit, this is a profound wine that should make consumers realize the extraordinary potential possessed by selected California vineyards. As a postscript, I noted a mineral, liquid stone character that emerged from this wine as it sat in the glass. Once again, Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer have produced riveting examples of American viticulture.  (12/2005)

94 points Wine Spectator

 *Cellar Selection* Bold, ripe, ultrarich and creamy, loaded with tiers of pear, fig and melon flavors, adding some complexity on the finish with its echoes of anise and spice. A real mouthful of Chardonnay that will do well in the cellar, from a leading California winery. 275 cases made.  (5/1996)

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Price: $179.99
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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:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.