Jan 2017 Vinous – Antonio Galloni

Mark Aubert describes 2015 as a year with tiny clusters that resulted from the cumulative effects of the drought and poor weather during flowering. The freakish weather resulted in a compact harvest that lasted about 3-4 weeks. Because of the natural concentration of the fruit, fermentations were long and protracted. In 2015, there is a marked difference between the Sonoma Chardonnays, where the heat spikes were limited, and those from Napa, where the Chardonnays are a bit blowsier. Sadly, yields are down by as much as 50%.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2025

Mark Aubert’s 2015 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is plush, rich and inviting. Here, the interplay of reductive aromatics and layered textures is compelling. Like the Sugar Shack, the CIX is planted with the Montrachet clone, and yet there is quite a bit more subtlety and nuance here.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2019 – 2025

The 2015 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard preserves good freshness and aromatic lift, especially for the year. In this tasting, the Eastside presents more of a phenolic character than most of the Chardonnays, with the fruit pushed into the background, while floral/savory/mineral notes are front and center. Of all of these Chardonnays, the Eastside shows the effects of its recent bottling most. At the same time, the rocky nature of this site really comes through in the wine’s feel.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2027

A rich, intense wine, the 2015 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard exudes power and intensity, but that is expressed in persistence rather than in textural weight. Smoke, slate, dried pear, mint and dried flowers are some of the hallmarks. This is remarkably precise for such a big wine. A touch of reduction adds complexity without being overly dominant.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 94
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2025

The 2015 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons is unctuous and ample in the glass. Apricot pit, peach, vanillin and candied lemon peel are beautifully delineated. Sumptuous and layered, the 2015 hits all the right notes. Today, the personality of the year masks some of the personality of Hyde, but the wine is impeccable in its balance just the same.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2025

The 2015 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is a classic Aubert Chardonnay built on plush texture and a multidimensional personality of pure class. Dried pear, baked apple, dried flowers, mint and white pepper give the wine its aromatic top notes, but there is plenty of depth underpinning it all.

 

 

2015 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2025

The 2015 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is laced with the essence of lemon confit, slate, white flowers, white pepper and orchard fruit. The flavors are intense and bright, but there is no shortage of richness or intensity. In 2015, the Ritchie seems to capture all of the very best qualities of the year. It’s a magical wine. Don’t miss it.

 

 

2015 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 93
Drinking Window: 2019 – 2023

The 2015 Chardonnay Sugar Shack, from Mark Aubert’s ranch in Rutherford, is rich, ample and creamy. This is an especially opulent, flamboyant Chardonnay built on serious texture and volume. Crème caramel, tropical fruit, lemon confit and white flowers infuse the huge finish.

2015 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2025

A wine of impact and power, the 2015 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard captures the pure intensity and concentration of the year. Yields were down by a whopping 40%, and yet all the elements are impeccably balanced. Petrol, graphite and savory herbs open up with time in the glass, but the 2015 is naturally quite reticent and in need of time in bottle.

2015 Aubert Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94
Drinking Window: 2019 – 2025

The 2015 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard is dark, sumptuous and explosive. Plum, mocha, spices and red cherry jam give the wine its racy, voluptuous personality. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s overt, flamboyant personality nicely.

2015 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2019 – 2025

The 2015 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is fabulous. Bright and floral, with striking freshness, the UV captures all the intensity that is typical of these Pinots while retaining considerable aromatic lift. Sweet red berry, mint, chalk and spice give the wine its brightness, poise and vivacity. This is the most energetic of the three Aubert vineyard-designate Pinots. Yields are down a whopping 50%.

2015 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2025

The 2015 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard is the darkest and most concentrated of these Pinots. Super-ripe black cherry, plum and lavender are pushed forward. Big, ample and large-scaled in all of its dimensions, the UV-SL will appeal most to readers who appreciate big Pinots. I find a bit more complexity in the UV and CIX, but at this level, it really comes down to personal taste.