Wine Spectator – April 1, 2020 – Producer Spotlight

Mark Aubert’s Opulent Chardonnays

Napa Valley–based vintner Mark Aubert is one of the top producers of California Chardonnay. He draws on his own estate sources, along with a bevy of leading vineyard sites in Sonoma and Napa counties, to make richly flavored and voluptuously textured wines.

Aubert excels by using traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques, such as 100 percent barrel fermentation and aging mostly in new French oak, to deliver wines that are full-bodied and balanced, with a surplus of opulent fruit flavors backed by vibrant acidity.

The top-scoring Powder House bottling represents just the second vintage for this wine. It is sourced from Aubert’s fourth estate vineyard, which covers 8 acres in the town of Forestville, also home to his Lauren and CIX sites.

The 2018 vintage overall was cool, offering many wines that are powerfully structured and backed by firm acidity. – Kim Marcus

2018 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95

Features a steely structure, with concentrated freshly cut apple, brioche and Asian pear flavors, supported by crunchy acidity. Pure and minerally midpalate, offering a long finish that echoes with subtle sea salt and chamomile accents. Best from 2022 through 2027. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 94

A vibrantly crisp version, with notes of dried savory herbs to the freshly cut green apple and Asian pear flavors. Offers intense minerality, showing smoky accents on the powerful and well-structured finish. Best from 2022 through 2026. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 92

Concentrated poached pear and apple pastry flavors are plush and open-textured. Shows juicy richness midpalate. Buttery pastry notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2024. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 93

Broad and rich, with seductive smoky notes to the ripe apple and pear pastry flavors. Buttery accents show midpalate, leading to an intensely spicy finish. Drink now through 2025. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95

Refined, with vibrant acidity backing the precise white fruit and spice flavors. Pure midpalate, showing minerally nuances. The finish lingers with lithe, savory richness. Drink now through 2027. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96

Smoky richness accents the concentrated apple and peach pastry flavors, supported by steely acidity. Luscious spiciness emerges midpalate, with a long finish that lingers with intense minerality and sea salt details. Best from 2022 through 2027. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 92

Creamy and honeyed notes accent the lusciously spiced flavors of ripe peach and baked apple. Toasty and buttery on the juicy finish. Drink now through 2024. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94

Lithe, with notes of dried thyme to the Gala apple and pear tart flavors, rich and pure. Toasty accents show midpalate. The long finish is filled with flinty and minerally components. Best from 2021 through 2026. —K.M.