2012 Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California, USA
About this WINE
“If the Kistler Winery could be magically transported to the middle of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, it would quickly gain a reputation as glorious as any producer of Burgundy grand crus.” – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
Kistler Vineyard is a cult Californian winemaker famous for its full-blown, yet elegant chardonnay style.
Founded in 1978, the vineyards owned and farmed by the Kistler family stretch from western Sonoma County to just north of the San Francisco bay. Kistler wines have a reputation for being meticulously formulated in order to produce wonderful mineral wines of intense focus, and natural balance. The notoriously exclusive Kistler wines have always been highly sought after, but over the last ten years many wine enthusiasts claim that the vineyard has been coming into its own – producing wines of harmony and distinction, as well as power.
Russian River Valley
This low-lying valley Sonoma County in and its 10,000 acres of vineyards was virtually unknown before 1983, when it was granted official appellation status (Russian River Valley AVA).
It has since established a formidable reputation as a prime spot for challenging varieties like Pinot Noir (29% of the acreage in 2007), which thrives in this cool-climate region. Chardonnay (42% of the acreage in 2007) has also blossomed here, showing a signature lean and restrained profile.
The Russian River Valley climate is influenced by cooling fogs, drawn inland from the Pacific. This natural air-conditioning allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity over an extended growing season, while retaining their life-giving natural acidity.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
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