Jan 2018 Vinous – Antonio Galloni

2016 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2026

Racy and unctuous in the glass, the 2016 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is one of the most viscous wines in this range. This opulent, dense Chardonnay is going to need quite a bit of time to be at its very best, but it is impressive, even at this early stage. The CIX gets more new oak than most of the other Chardonnays, and yet the wood is very nicely integrated.

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 95+
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2026

The 2016 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard is one of the more open-knit, accessible wines in the range, and the first of these Chardonnays I would choose to open. Orchard fruit, dried pear, flowers, almonds and mint are all laced together in this pretty, gracious wine. It will be interesting to see if the 2016 gains a bit more flesh over time. Today, it is a bit on the compact side.

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2030

Aubert’s 2016 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard is creamy, ample and expressive, but also light on its feet, as so many of these wines are. Chamomile, orchard fruit, lemon confit and melon notes fill out the wine’s frame effortlessly. The veil of reduction that is often found in the Hudson is present, but very much buried by the sheer intensity and richness of the fruit.

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2030

The 2016 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons is so delicate, precise and nuanced. In 2016, the Hyde leans more towards the citrus end of the spectrum. Candied lemon peel and lifted floral notes are some of the signatures in this striking, beautifully delineated Chardonnay. In most vintages, Hyde tends to give a decidedly forward style of Chardonnay. Mark Aubert’s 2016 is all finesse.

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2030

A thrilling wine, the 2016 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is the most expansive of these wines. The interplay of creamy fruit, acid and structure is utterly captivating. Medium in body, the Lauren is a wine of impeccable balance and understated class that makes its case more with finesse and pure power. This parcel is planted with a combination of Mt. Eden, Corton-Charlemagne, Hyde and Hudson Chardonnay clones. Perhaps it is that combination of clonal material that results in a wine of unusual complexity and layers. The refreshing, gracious finish only adds to the wine’s considerable appeal. In a word: superb.

 

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96+
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2028

The 2016 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is powerful and phenolically intense. Orchard fruit, mint, white flowers and melon are pushed forward. Deep and ample on the palate, with tremendous structure, the 2016 has a lot to offer. Although very much tightly wound today, the Ritchie is one of the most promising wines in the range.

 

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2026

The 2016 Chardonnay Sugar Shack is one the more exuberant wines in this range. Orange blossom, honey, wild flowers and apricot are all laced together in this decidedly bold, ample Chardonnay. The Sugar Shack emerges from Aubert’s home ranch in Rutherford, planted with Montrachet clone. The balance of fruit and acids is terrific. Even so, the Sugar Shack will appeal most to readers who appreciate the flamboyant side of California Chardonnay.

2016 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2028

The 2016 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard is powerful and also razor-sharp. Chalk, crushed rocks, mint and citrus peel give the UV-SL its distinctive energetic, focused feel. The UV-SL shows the distinct influence of elevation at this site perched at 1,200 feet above sea level. While many of the Aubert Chardonnays are overt, the UV-SL is much less forthcoming. Underpinnings of acid and structure add to the wine’s considerable appeal.

2016 Aubert Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2030

The 2016 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard is a dense, powerful wine. I would be tempted to cellar the 2016 for at least a few years to allow some of the youthful exuberance to settle. Even so, the CIX is superb. Super-ripe red cherry, kirsch, lavender and mint all fill out in this perfumed, exquisite Pinot. There is an explosive energy to the CIX that is hugely appealing. Moreover, the CIX is the Pinot that brings together all of the best elements of Mark Aubert’s Pinots; aromatics, fruit and textural depth. This parcel is planted with clonal material taken from a top domaine in Burgundy’s Vosne-RomanĂ©e.

2016 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2026

Aubert’s 2016 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is fresh, fragrant and inviting. Sweet red cherry, mint, rose petal and lavender notes are nicely lifted in this attractive, mid-weight Pinot. Silky, sensual and nuanced, the 2016 has a lot to recommend it. A dollop of whole clusters introduces a lovely savory element to the UV.

2016 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2026

A powerful, rich wine endowed with tremendous drive, the Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard is the most overt, flamboyant wine in the range. A rush of black cherry, game, blood orange and spice fills out the wine’s ample frame effortlessly. The UV-SL is the darkest and most obviously ripe of the vineyard designated Pinots. There is plenty of personality, that much is evident.

 

2009 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2019

The 2009 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is a pretty wine, but the ups and downs of the growing season, and resulting uneven ripeness, comes across in a mid-weight wine that doesn’t feel fully developed. I would prefer to finish any remaining bottles sooner rather than later, as it is hard to see the 2009 developing much more complexity or nuance. My memory of this wine upon release is more favorable than the impression I get from this bottle today.

2008 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2030

In this mini-vertical, the 2008 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard comes across as a cross between the 2005 and the 2007, with the layered feel and more mid-weight structure of the former, and a tropically-leaning flavor profile that resembles the latter. I don’t get the impression the 2008 is going to be one of Aubert’s more long-lived Chardonnays. For that reason, I would prefer to drink it sooner rather than later. Even so, at nearly ten years of age, the 2008 has developed very nicely. Today, it is super-expressive and a real joy to taste. It is one of my favorite wines in this vertical, second only to the 2005.

2007 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2018+

The 2007 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard shows the natural richness of the year in its ample, richly textured personality. Here, the fruit is a bit more forward, with hints of honey, creme brulee and roasted almond that are all indicative of a wine that has reached full maturity. The 2007 might very well stay at its current plateau, but it won’t get better. All things considered, the 2007 has reached this stage of its life gracefully.

2005 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2030

The 2005 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is just as breathtaking as it has always been. Still wonderfully fresh and nuanced, the 2005 has a level of precision and total finesse that is simply alluring. Lemon confit, apricot, mint and white flowers are all finely sketched, but it is the wine’s overall balance and sense of harmony that are most alluring. Mark Aubert describes 2005 as a cool year with no heat spikes that produced a small crop. The 2005 Lauren remains one of my all-time favorite Mark Aubert wines.

2004 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2018 – 2028

Hints of dried pear, almond, dried flowers, candied lemon and spice run through the 2004 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard. A wine of striking aromatic nuance and complexity, the 2004 is in a beautiful spot right now. I would prefer to finish any remaining bottles soon, as there is no upside from holding the 2004 further. This is an impressive showing.