The Wine Advocate Issue 210, December 2013

Robert Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate Issue 210

2012 Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98-100 Points

A wine that stood out for its complexity and intensity was the 2012 Chardonnay CIX Estate. Planted with a clone originating in Montrachet, this vineyard is situated next to the vineyard from which Mark Aubert makes the Lauren Chardonnay. There are only 600 cases of this prodigious wine. The vines were planted in 2007, so this is only the fifth leaf, but wow, what a Chardonnay. Copious notes of pineapple, mango and guava along with wet stone, caramelized citrus, tangerine and orange marmalade characteristics are followed by a wine with full-bodied mouthfeel as well as remarkable purity, texture and intensity. One of the most individualistic and greatest Chardonnays I have ever tasted, this amazing wine should drink well for 7-10 years. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2023.

2012 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 99-100 Points

The 2012 Chardonnay Eastside, a vineyard owned by top viticulturist Ulises Valdez, is a 1,000-case cuvee that reveals a liquefied wet stone character intermixed with notes of white currants, quince, honeysuckle, pineapple and peach marmalade. Strong minerality as well as a remarkable finish makes this a candidate for perfection. It should drink well for 6-10 years as well. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2023.

2012 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96-98 Points

The 2012 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons (1,000 cases) comes from a 4-acre vineyard that produces nearly 1,000 cases. The straw color reveals a greenish hue, and the wine bursts from the glass with notes of exotic fruits, wet stones, limes and white peaches. It has a kinship to a great Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne. Complex and full-bodied with stunning purity, richness and acidity, this killer Chardonnay should drink well for 6-10 years. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2023.

2012 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98-100 Points

We finished the Chardonnay portion of the tasting with Mark Aubert’s favorite wine, the 2012 Chardonnay Lauren Estate, which comes from rich Goldridge soils. There are 1,000 cases of this straw/greenish-colored beauty fashioned from various clones, including the Old Wente, Hyde, Hudson, Corton-Charlemagne selection and the Mt. Eden clones. It possesses more of a tannic backbone than its siblings because of its grip. Full-bodied with lots of honeyed citrus, orange marmalade and abundant fruit on the attack and mid-palate, this youthful Chardonnay seems barely touched by its oak aging. All of these 2012s will be irresistible when released in 2014, but should age beautifully for 6-10+ years. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2023.

2012 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95-98 Points

Mark Aubert farms 39-year-old vines in the famous Ritchie Vineyard. At 1,200 cases, the 2012 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is the largest production cuvee of these Chardonnays. It reveals a more evolved nose of smoky hazelnuts, honeysuckle, and tropical fruits, less minerality, and full-bodied unctuosity buttressed by crisp acids. It is a fatter, richer, complex, more California-styled Chardonnay that should drink well for 6-8 years. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2021.

2012 Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Napa Valley
Score: 99-100 Points

From a 4-acre Rutherford vineyard planted with the Montrachet clone, the prodigious 2012 chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate (400 cases) exhibits notes of liquid stones, tangerine oil, peach blossom and a hint of pineapples with staggering minerality. Full-bodied with sensational purity, texture and richness, it was hard to spit this one out. It will age effortlessly for 10+ years. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2023.

2012 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95-97 Points

A tour de force in Chardonnay, the 2012 Chardonnay UV-SL was made from an Old Wente clone of Chardonnay. It exhibits copious aromas of mango, pineapple and subtle background wood, a voluptuous texture, beautiful acidity and terrific length and personality. As the wine sits in the glass a structured feel comes forth along with a notion of pears. It should offer delicious drinking over the next decade. Anticipated maturity is 2013-2023.