Vinous – January 2021

Mark Aubert’s 2019s are fabulous. The wines clearly benefit from a stable growing season that saw less heat than 2018, especially towards the end of the season. The Chardonnays are now so consistent that choosing among them really comes down to a matter of personal preference. The biggest change here is that the Pinots have moved away from the inky, bombastic style of the past towards an approach that emphasizes greater freshness and energy. There is still plenty of depth to the wines, but the 2019s have a level of detail I have not seen here before. I tasted the Chardonnays from tank just prior to bottling and the Pinots in bottle. Readers will note the introduction of a new wine, the Park Avenue Chardonnay, which emerges from a 12-acre parcel adjacent to Lauren that was planted six years ago.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94 – 96

The 2019 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is powerful, explosive and also very phenolic in feel. There is real density in the CIX. Lemon oil, marzipan, white flowers, ripe pear and mint are all beautifully delineated. The CIX is deep but also wonderfully transparent. The cool growing season yielded a Chardonnay of remarkable finesse. This site was the last to be picked.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 98 – 100

The 2019 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard is deep, powerful and packed. Lemon confit, crushed rocks, menthol, graphite, chamomile and vanillin infuse the 2019 with striking layers of dimension. Bright acids give the sculpted finish tremendous persistence.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96 – 98

The 2019 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard is a total knock-out. Ripe pear, white flowers, mint and apple tart are all beautifully lifted. Rich in texture, yet light on its feet, the Hudson is unbelievably beautiful and vivid in the glass. In a word: stunning.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 94 – 96

The 2019 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons is very delicate in this vintage. Apricot, lemon confit tangerine oil, butter, mint and spice are all finely knit in a racy, understated Chardonnay that hits so many high notes. The purity of the flavors is just striking.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96 – 98

The 2019 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is a blend of clones. That combination produces a wine of uncommon elegance. Texturally alone, the Lauren is so distinctive. Pear, lemon confit, chamomile, marzipan and dried flowers all grace the Lauren, a wine that is just off the chart. Bright saline notes punctuate the finish.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Park Avenue Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93 – 95

The 2019 Park Avenue Estate is a new wine in the range. It emerges from a 12-acre parcel adjacent to Lauren. It offers a compelling interplay of lemon confit and floral nuances.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95 – 97

The 2019 Chardonnay Powder House, from a site in Forestville, is one of the most lifted, gracious wines in the range. White flowers, mint, orchard fruit and white pepper give the Powder House its distinctly brilliant aromatics. It is an especially translucent, taut Chardonnay within this hugely impressive range.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 95 – 97

The 2019 Chardonnay Sugar Shack balances the richness of this site with the cool nature of the year. Rich, oily and viscous, yet also incredibly gracious the Sugar Shack is arrestingly beautiful. Lemon confit, dried herbs, crushed rocks and tangerine oil open in the glass, but it is the wine’s balance that carries the day.

2019 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95 – 97

The 2019 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard is laced with the essence of tangerine oil, ginger, passionfruit and white flowers. Tropical and lush, yet also remarkably elegant, the UV-SL is so expressive today. A hint of reduction adds character, as does a slightly phenolic edge that drives through to the finish.

2019 Aubert Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2023 – 2034

The 2019 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard is fleshy and wonderfully deep. Rich red/purplish fruit, spice, licorice and blood orange fill out the layers effortlessly. The 2019 offers plenty of richness…

2019 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2023 – 2034

The 2019 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is incredibly delicate and refined. Freshly cut flowers, mint, sage, dried rose petals and blood orange infuse the UV with notable brightness and energy to match its soft curves. In the glass, the UV is nuanced and so full of complexity. The 2019 UV Pinot is one of the most elegant Pinots I have tasted from Mark Aubert. I would cellar the 2019 for a few years as it has just been bottled.

2019 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2023 – 2034

The 2019 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard brings together some of the aromatic breadth of the UV with the textural resonance of the CIX. Rose petal, lavender, spice, menthol, kirsch and dark cherry fruit build in a Pinot that balances density, power and energy. Rich and layered in the glass, with striking inner perfume, the UV-SL is superb.

James Suckling, Weekly Tasting Report – December 2020

We rated the 2018 Aubert chardonnays this week and one Aubert wine shares line honors for a perfect 100-point score. The Aubert Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Lauren Estate 2018 is the first white wine from the USA to receive a coveted 100-point rating here at JamesSuckling.com and it makes a statement for the whole category of USA chardonnay that USA chardonnays are right among the best in the world.

James recently caught up with Mark Aubert online and they discussed this flagship wine’s unique weight and impact over Zoom. It is sourced from Aubert’s oldest vines (and named after Mark Aubert’s daughter). “It just builds and is very different to the others,” says James, a feature that is really down to a combination of vine age and a unique site, says Aubert. “What’s amazing is the location,” he says, “it is on this little hill and the sunrise, the sunset, the winds – these all play a really important role in its ripeness.”

The Sonoma chardonnays of Aubert performed extremely well in this week’s tasting and they are clustered around the top of the ratings.

2018 Chardonnay CIX Estate Sonoma Coast
Score: 98 Points

Lots of ripe-nectarine, lemon-curd, dried-mango and smoked-cashew aromas. Salted butter notes. Ash, too. It’s full-bodied, creamy and smooth with a gradual and graceful evolution of ripe fruit to stone and flint on the finish. Solid density. Agile. Better in a year or two.

2018 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 98 Points

A powerful nose of dried pineapple, lime curd, dried lemon zest, white pepper, clove and a touch of burnt match. Pear blossom, too. Finely crafted, seamless layers of fruit, crushed stones and smoke. It’s full-bodied, tight and compact, elegant and sophisticated all at once. A beautiful wine. Such balance. Drink or hold.

2018 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 99 Points

Ripe-peach, chalk, smoked-almond, matchstick and phenolic aromas. Floral notes, too. It’s full-bodied, creamy and oily. So balanced and restrained, yet dense and impressive. Minerally. Give this time. Try after 2022, but already fantastic.

2018 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 97 Points

Intense lime-curd, smoke, dried-mango and papaya aromas. Ginger, too. It’s full-bodied and creamy with incredibly concentrated flavors. So tight and layered. Clear and focused. Drink or hold.

2018 Chardonnay Lauren Estate Sonoma Coast
Score: 100 Points

Dried apricot, lemon zest, hawthorn and smoke on the nose. It’s full-bodied with concentrated dried and ripe fruit, interlaced with smoke and toast and balanced by tangy acidity. Lots of crushed gravel, too, before an oily finish. Dense and reflective, yet intense and energetic at the end. From the oldest vines of Aubert. Greatest American Chardonnay ever? Drink or hold.

2018 Chardonnay Powder House Estate Sonoma Coast
Score: 96 Points

Lots of aromas and flavors of lime zest and lime curd, dried pineapple, hawthorn and crushed hazelnut. Full-bodied and oily on the palate with lingering notes of lime and flint. Tight ending, but keeps going. Drink or hold.

2018 Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Napa Valley
Score: 99 Points

Flinty and steely with dried-apple, cooked-apple, pineapple, stone and honeysuckle aromas and flavors. Full-bodied and layered. Dense and agile with a vivid, flavorful finish. Complex, rich and so long. Still tight. But ever so serious and complex. Another triumph from Aubert from this vineyard. Drinkable now, but better in a year or two.

2018 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97 Points

Intense aromas of lemon curd, lime zest, white peach, butterscotch and flint. It’s full-bodied and creamy, compact and phenolic. So focused. Crushed flint on a long, mineral and smoky finish. Drink or hold.

Wine Spectator – Spring 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.

2018 Aubert Pinot Noir CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93

Elegant, featuring open-textured flavors of linzer torte and cocoa powder. Hints of hot spices show midpalate, with a fresh, pure-tasting finish. Drink now through 2025. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95

Powerful and structured, with minerally richness to the fine-edged red fruit and savory spice flavors. The sleek finish offers impressive purity and clarity to the notes of hot stone, flint and underbrush. Best from 2021 through 2026. From California. —K.M.

2018 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 92

Refined, with juicy richness to the mouthfilling flavors of raspberry tart, cherry compote and boysenberry. Crisp midpalate, leading to a fresh, spicy finish. Drink now through 2025. —K.M.

Vinous – January 2020 – 2017 & 2018 Napa Valley In Depth

I didn’t think Mark Aubert and assistant winemaker, Laura Jones, could top their brilliant 2017s, but they may have done so with these stellar 2018s. The Chardonnays in particular are brilliant. The even, cool growing season yielded Chardonnays that are bright, focused and so expressive of site, with lively acids and phenomenal length. Whether it is a reflection of recent vintages or more of a stylistic evolution, over the last few years, the Chardonnays have moved towards greater finesse. That’s important to note because the Pinots remain pretty rich and exuberant in feel, a difference that has become more apparent in recent vintages. I tasted all of these wines in October 2019. The Chardonnays were in tank, being prepared for bottling, while the Pinots were bottled in July.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94-97 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is a seamless, gorgeous beauty. Orchard fruit, mint, white pepper and floral notes all run through this super-expressive, alluring Chardonnay from Mark Aubert. In the glass, the CIX is understated and nuanced rather than overt. I find it absolutely mesmerizing.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 95-98 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard is a total stunner. Rich, ample and phenolic in feel, the 2018 possesses tremendous resonance in all of its dimensions. Orange peel, spice, mint, toast and hazelnut all build in this creamy, super-expressive Chardonnay. Today, the Eastside Vineyard just dazzles.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 94-97 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard is another superb wine in this range. Unctuous and creamy, with striking freshness, the Hudson has so much to offer. White pepper, mint, orchard fruit and lemon confit are all given an extra kick of intensity in this racy, beautifully layered Chardonnay from Aubert.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 93-96 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons is the result a larger-than-normal crop. Hyde Chardonnays are typically exuberant, but in 2018, the wine is subtle, nuanced and wonderfully understated. I don’t think I have tasted a Hyde Chardonnay with this much precision. Lemon confit and bright floral notes perk up this beautifully expressive Chardonnay from Mark Aubert.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95-98 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is the wine that, for me, brings together all the best elements of the Aubert style. Nuanced and silky, the 2018 is pure class from the very first taste. Lemon oil, white flowers and mint accents add complexity, but there is something about the wine’s textural feel that just elevates it.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 92-95 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Powder House is a bit nervous today. Bright mineral notes give the 2018 a good bit of energy and tension to drive the citrus and floral flavors. I am really looking forward to tasting the 2018 after bottling, as I imagine it will be a bit more relaxed.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 93-96 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Sugar Shack is wonderfully alluring from the first taste. The Sugar Shack is typically among the more overt wines in this range. The 2018 has plenty of that, but the cool, even growing season and bright acids temper some of that natural exuberance nicely. Orange peel, spice, butter and sweet vanillin all meld together in this wonderfully open-knit, luscious Chardonnay from Mark Aubert.

2018 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94-97 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard is ample, dramatic and textured in the glass, with tons of volume as well as resonance. Lemon peel, pineapple, white flowers, orchard fruit and mint all flesh out in this unabashedly opulent, richly textured Chardonnay. The UV-SL is bold and beautiful to the core.

2018 Aubert Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93
Drinking Window: 2022 – 2030

The 2018 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard is rich and heady. Blueberry, chocolate, espresso and copious new oak add to a feeling of real density and resonance. Here, too, the tannins are pretty imposing in the early going. This is an especially dark, brooding Pinot.

2018 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93
Drinking Window: 2022 – 2030

The 2018 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is the darkest and richest of the three Pinots in Mark Aubert’s lineup. Black cherry, chocolate, licorice and herbs are all broad and ample in the glass. The UV is a Pinot of gravitas, power and textural intensity.

2018 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2021 – 2033

The 2018 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard is one of the very best Pinots I have ever tasted from Mark Aubert. What I like most is the interplay of aromatics, energy and overall freshness, all of which balance the richness Aubert coaxes from Pinot. In the glass, the UV-SL is so beautiful, so vivid and so compelling. A rush of red/purplish berry fruit, sage, mint and lavender builds into the precise, delineated finish. Not only is the UV-SL the most complete of the three Pinots, it is also very clearly the most stylistically aligned with the Chardonnays. I loved it.

The Wine Advocate, Issue 245 End of October 2019

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“2017 was incredibly stressful…” recalled Mark Aubert. “The finished wines are just so intense.” Aubert had finished picking well before the fires in 2017. In fact, the Sugar Shack vineyard in Rutherford—usually the first vineyard to come in—was being harvested during my visit in late August that year, and so it missed even the Labor Day heat wave. Harvest continued for about four weeks. The winery was closed up tight during the fires to prevent smoke infiltration. Power went off for about an hour, but they have a back-up generator.

“2018 was a big sigh of relief this year compared to 2017!” Aubert continued. “2018 was a substantially cooler vintage. One of the hallmarks of the 2018s was fantastic fermentations, incredible acidity and very successful malolactics.”  Those familiar with Aubert know that Mark does not practice extended barrel maturation. He had just finished racking the 2018 Chardonnays to tank when I visited in August 2019, prepping them to be bottled in December 2019. The 2018 Pinot Noirs were bottled in early July 2019.

2018 Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97-99 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay CIX Estate slips sensuously from the glass with beguiling scents of apple blossoms, honeysuckle and orange peel over a core of ripe Bosc pears, coriander seed, white pepper and shaved almonds plus a touch of talc. Full-bodied, rich and seductive, it has seamless freshness and the most beautifully perfumed personality, finishing long and fragrant.

2018 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 97-99+ Points

Eastside is a warmer site in Russian River that is composed of very rocky, gravelly soils. It is usually harvested second, after Sugar Shack. Wow—the 2018 Chardonnay Eastside has a truly compelling hazelnut/praline character with a core of spice cake, apple pie, peach preserves and clotted cream plus suggestions of cloves, allspice and brioche. Full-bodied, the palate is a powerhouse of savory layers, lifted by fantastic freshness and allowing the beautifully pristine apple and peach flavors to kick in on the long, long finish.

2018 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 97-100 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Hudson opens with profound beeswax, apricot preserves, baked pineapple and musk perfume with hints of waxy lemons, almond croissant and a waft of cedar. Full-bodied, rich and decadently fruited, it has layer upon layer of savory/stone-fruit-sweet and tropical fruit notions, framed by bold freshness and a creamy texture, finishing very long.

2018 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 97-99 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons leaps from the glass with vivacious fresh grapefruit, lemon peel, orange blossoms and lime cordial notes with nuances of fresh ginger, hay, sea spray and chalk dust. The full-bodied mouth explodes with the whole citrus-fruit flavor spectrum—lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit on steroids—complemented by loads of spicy sparks and lifted by amazing freshness, sporting a provocatively creamy texture and finishing long.

2018 Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98-100 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Lauren Estate explodes effortlessly from the glass, emitting flamboyant crystalized ginger, cinnamon stick, green tea and lime cordial notions with suggestions of applesauce, lemongrass, honey-roasted almonds and paraffin wax plus a touch of cedar chest. Full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully earthy/savory, delivering a beautiful oiliness to the texture juxtaposed by spine-tingling purity and freshness, finishing with epic length.

2018 Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96-99 Points

The nose bursts from the glass with notes of lemon meringue pie, lime curd, tangerine peel and candied ginger plus touches of lightly browned toast, cashews and a waft of cedar. The full-bodied palate starts out gentle and floral, expanding into a citrus explosion on the finish, featuring a wicked backbone of freshness and loads of compelling savory sparks that will keep you coming back for more.

2018 Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 97-99 Points

The 2018 Chardonnay Sugar Shack comes bounding out of the glass with candied lemon peel, green mango, guava and lime leaves plus hints of honeysuckle, toasted almonds, crushed stones and nutmeg. Full-bodied, the palate is electric with concentrated citrus and tropical fruits and the most amazing tension, featuring a satiny texture and very long, pristine finish.

2018 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96-98+ Points

The 2018 Chardonnay UV-SL comes across as a little shy compared to the Napa Chardonnays, slowly unfurling to reveal oyster shells, peach blossoms, honeysuckle and brine notes over a core of lemon marmalade, crème brûlée and pink grapefruit plus a touch of key lime pie. Full-bodied, the palate is like a tightly coiled spring with loads of tension between the racy acid and all the taut fruit, finishing very long and very minerally. This should be very long-lived!

2018 Pinot Noir CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97 Points

Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2018 Pinot Noir CIX Estate is a little closed to begin, opening with fragrant red roses, raspberry leaves, black tea and damp soil notes over a core of kirsch, mulberries and redcurrant jelly plus a touch of Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has an amazing finely grained texture with bold freshness and intensely perfumed red fruit carrying right on through the long finish.

2018 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98+ Points

Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, the 2018 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard rolls out of the glass with intense notes of Morello cherries, rhubarb, raspberry pie, bouquet garni and lilacs with suggestions of Marmite toast, fungi, fragrant soil and forest floor. Full-bodied, the palate is packed with crunchy red berries plus loads of earthy accents, framed by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with a wonderfully spicy kick. Delicious now, this should age incredibly well, generously rewarding those with enough patience to defer their gratification.

2018 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96 Points

Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, the 2018 Pinot Noir UV-SL sashays out of the glass with flashy black cherries, black raspberries and mulberries scents plus suggestions of violets, dark chocolate, cinnamon stick and cloves with wafts of garrigue and mossy bark. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a taut backbone of firm, finely grained tannins and fantastic freshness supporting the muscular black fruits, finishing on a lingering earthy note.

2017 Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 99 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay CIX Estate is so delightfully savory, you could make a whole meal of it! It opens with bags of praline, pain grille, allspice and dill seed notions over a core of baked apples, pear tart, aniseed and lime leaves plus a touch of sea spray. Full-bodied, the palate has fantastic texture with a little chewy grip countering the slight oiliness and supporting the savory layers beautifully, finishing long and refreshing. Man, I just personally love the style of this wine!

2017 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 98 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Eastside struts out of the glass with confident notes of green guava, honeydew melon, fresh nectarine and lemonade plus touches of struck match, brioche, roasted almonds and candied ginger. Full-bodied, the palate has amazing concentration and energy, giving mouth-coating citrus and tropical fruit flavors, finishing fantastically long and mineral laced.

2017 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 98 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Hudson features super intense notes of freshly squeezed lemon, lime zest, warm apricots and honeydew melon with hints of hay, paraffin wax and crushed nuts plus a waft of cinnamon toast. The full-bodied palate is very tightly wound with electric tension and has loads of citrusy accents coming through on the very, very long finish.

2017 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 97 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons explodes from the glass with bombastic lime cordial, pink grapefruit and rhubarb pie scents with suggestions of fresh ginger, green mango and acacia honey plus a touch of praline. Full-bodied, the palate has a wonderfully savory undercurrent with brioche nuances complementing the powerful tropical fruit, framed by great freshness, finishing with epic length.

2017 Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 100 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Lauren Estate starts out with a quiet intensity of ripe pears, apricot tart and spiced apples notes, growing exponentially to reveal a whole spectrum of savory/earthy nuances: marzipan, cashews, yeast extract, oolong tea, chalk dust and nutmeg. Full-bodied, the palate truly lets off the flavor fireworks, giving up loads of citrus, stone fruit, pears and savory flavors plus a racy backbone, finishing very long and very moreish.

2017 Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97+ Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Powder House Estate unwinds with coaxing to offer glimpses at baked apple, poached pears, peach preserves and pineapple upside-down cake plus hints of praline, crème brûlée and clover honey. Full-bodied, the palate features a wicked backbone of freshness, beautifully lifting all those concentrated, densely packed flavors, finishing very long and wonderfully pure.

2017 Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 98 Points

Notes of lemon tart, lime cordial and preserved pineapples leap from the glass, followed by suggestions of chopped cashews, coriander seed, juniper and aniseed. Full-bodied, the palate has a seductively satiny texture and soft acidity, leading with bold, expressive stone fruit preserves and spicy layers, finishing very long and very decadent.

2017 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 99 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay UV-SL flaunts a wonderfully Puligny-esque nose, featuring a subtle, elusive matchstick character over the bold grapefruit, white peaches and lemon pie scents plus nuances of cashews, melted candle, crushed rocks and oyster shells. Full-bodied, the palate is arrestingly elegant with a whole myriad of nuances, delivering seamless freshness at its core and finishing very long with loads of lingering savory notes.

Wine Spectator – July 31, 2019 – Annual Chardonnay Report

A FIRST LOOK AT EXCITING NEW WINES

2017 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94

Suave and rich-tasting, with concentrated flavors of dried pear, baked apple and melon that offer a lilting creaminess. Plush and well-spiced on the unctuous finish. Drink now through 2024.
–KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 93

Big, rich and powerful, featuring concentrated flavors of apple pastry, ripe pear and dried tropical fruits. Very toasty midpalate, with buttery accents on the finish. Drink now through 2023.
–KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 94

Features finely textured and rich flavors of apple pastry, pear tart and lemon curd, backed by crunchy acidity. The minerally finish is lithe and filled with powerful spiciness. Drink now through 2025.
–KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96

Voluptuous and unctuous, featuring intensely pure flavors of baked pear, apple pastry and melon confit that are powerfully structured. Sage cream and butter accents show midpalate, with a long, rich finish that offers lemon curd notes. Drink now through 2025.
–KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94

Powerful toasty and crushed stone notes accent the focused flavors of Gala apple, nectarine and white berry. Dried tropical fruit details fill the rich and textured finish, with lemon drop hints. Drink now through 2025.
–KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 92

A big, rich and fruity style, featuring apple and peach pastry flavors that offer some savory accents. The broad finish shows plenty of oak, with red berry hints. Drink now through 2023.
-KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 93

A sculpted and sleek style, with lemon drop notes to the well-spiced flavors of apple tart, ripe pear and pineapple cake. The luscious finish offers exotic spice and cream accents. Drink now through 2023.
–KM

2017 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95

Pure-tasting, offering vibrant, well-structured flavors of green pear, mango, apple and red peach. Shows lively minerality midpalate, with a finish of crushed stone and spice notes. Drink now through 2025.
–KM

2017 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94

Juicy and well-sculpted, with dried rose petal, raspberry tart and crushed dark plum flavors, supported by medium-grained tannins and lively acidity. Red licorice accents emerge on the fresh, minerally finish. Drink now through 2024.
–KM

2017 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95

Rich, expressive and loaded with concentrated boysenberry, plum tart and dark cherry flavors that are flush with crunchy acidity. Minerally in the midpalate with a long, plush finish that features flinty and meaty overtones. Drink now through 2024.
–KM

Vinous – May 2019 – Exploring The Best New Releases from Sonoma and Beyond

Mark Aubert’s 2017 Chardonnays are every bit as remarkable from bottle as they were from tank. Interestingly, the Labor Day heat spikes had the effect of blocking some of the maturation of the vines. So, in a very warm and dry year, the 2017 Aubert Chardonnays are lower in alcohol, lower in pH and higher in acidity than is the norm, something further accentuated by lower conversions of sugar into finished alcohol in the wines. This range is positively stellar. There is not much else I can add to that.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2021 – 2032

The Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is yet another positively brilliant wine in this line up of 2017 Chardonnays from Mark Aubert. Lemon oil, tangerine, dried flowers, chamomile and lightly honeyed notes all meld together in a rich, ample wine endowed with tremendous purity and textural depth. Tropical overtones add further shades of nuance. In a word: stunning.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 98
Drinking Window: 2021 – 2031

The 2017 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard is one of the more overt wines in this range. Lemon confit, tangerine, marzipan, white flowers all develop in this overt, plush Chardonnay. This Russian River site…yields wines of real distinction. The 2017 was breathtaking when I tasted it from tank prior to bottling. It is all that, and more, today. What a wine!

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2020 – 2029

The 2017 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard is a real pleasure to taste now that it has been bottled. Creamy and unctuous on the palate, with striking depth, the Hudson has so much to say. Baked apple, orchard fruit, white flowers and whole range of bright aromas and flavors develop in a bright, super-expressive Chardonnay.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2019 – 2029

The 2017 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons is just as impressive from bottle as it was from tank a few months ago. In 2017, the Hyde stands out for its creamy, harmonious personality. Lemon confit, marzipan and dried pear and floral notes all meld together in this beautifully textured, open-knit Chardonnay from Mark Aubert.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98
Drinking Window: 2021 – 2032

One of the highlights in this range, the 2017 Chardonnay Lauren Vineyard is also the most gracious and lifted of Mark Aubert’s Chardonnays. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint, chalk and white pepper give the wine lift and perfume. Delicate, understated and classy to the core, the Lauren has it all. The 2017 is a stunning wine. It’s as simple as that. Don’t miss it.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2019-2027

The 2017 Chardonnay Powder House Vineyard is bright, punchy and full of life. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint and almond all race out of this plush yet vibrant Chardonnay. There is so much to like in this striking, delineated Chardonnay. The Powder House is the one wine in this tasting that is far showier from bottle than it was from tank. It is also the most approachable of the 2017 Chardonnays. For that reason, I would choose to drink it ahead of the other Chardonnays in the range.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2021 – 2029

The 2017 Chardonnay Sugar Shack has a ton of tremendous up-front appeal and but perhaps a bit less in the way of persistence. In exchange, though, readers will find a Chardonnay will be ready to drink with only minimal, if any, cellaring. Hints of apricot, honey, almonds and mint linger on the inviting, expressive finish.

2017 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97
Drinking Window: 2021 – 2031

The 2017 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard bright, aromatic and focused, with a palpable sense of vibrancy that is its key signature. White flowers, lemon confit and mint all open up in the glass, with distinct saline underpinnings that give the wine freshness, verve and a strong marine influence that is impossible to miss.

2017 Aubert Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95
Drinking Window: 2022 – 2032

The 2017 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard is a rich, sensual wine. Red cherry jam, blood orange, pomegranate, and rose petals all flesh out in this lush yet mid-weight, incredibly appealing Pinot Noir. The 2017 is succulent and juicy in style, and yet it also retains terrific freshness. There is so much to look forward to.

2017 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96
Drinking Window: 2022 – 2032

Aubert’s 2017 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is pliant, open-knit and super-expressive. Sweet tobacco, cedar, mint, earthiness, dried flowers and cherry fruit are all laced together in this very pretty, nuanced Pinot. Despite its recent bottling, the 2017 UV is bright, lifted and super-expressive. The blend of Calera and Vosne-Romanée clones works beautifully.

2017 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 94+
Drinking Window: 2022 – 2032

…Dried herbs, cedar, tobacco and menthol add striking aromatic nuance, but today it is the wine’s tannin profile that makes the strongest impression. This hillside site above Occidental yields Pinots of real distinction. I imagine the UV-SL will be the slowest of these wines to reveal itself, but it has plenty to say. Lavender, rose petals, blood orange and spices add an exotic flair to this embryonic Pinot.

James Suckling, The Good and the Bad of Sonoma – November 2018

Richness in chardonnay can be thrilling, as long as it delivers balance and distinctiveness. It can be impressive, expressive and artfully interpreted but, just as a great gymnast will demonstrate, the dismount or finish must be precise and on point. The chardonnays of Aubert are the best at harnessing richness whilst executing balance and focus where many others blur the lines of definition and miss the mark of harmony. Aubert’s chardonnays are wines with irresistible appeal and show that, with an experienced and astute approach, richer chardonnay can be delivered in Sonoma with the same thrilling balance seen in Grand Cru White Burgundy.

2017 Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97-98 Points

This is very deep and foursquare with fabulous depth and power. Muscular. Cream, yogurt and layers of fruit. Extremely rich and flavorful. Love the finish. Oily at the end.

2017 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 96-97 Points

An rich, oily white with cooked apples and lemons and meringue undertones. Full-bodied and very flavorful. Intense lime and lemon finish. Gorgeous and sensuous white. February 2019 release.

2017 Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95-96 Points

A layered and phenolic white with sliced, cooked apples and lime undertones. Medium to full body, lovely fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Tangy, too. Tight and compacted.

2017 Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98-99 Points

A very flashy white with so much toasted-oak and coconut, cooked-apple and peach character. Full-bodied, dense and very rich. Lots of fruit and intensity at the end. So much lime and kiwi in the aftertaste. Gorgeous. Release September 2019.

2017 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 99-100 Points

This is really dense with extraordinary depth and power. Full-bodied and so powerful and so gorgeous. The layers of fruit and the textures are amazing.

2017 Pinot Noir CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98 Points

This is dense and focused with a very tight and compacted palate of blackberries, blueberries and smoke. Full-bodied and very flavorful. Structured and so beautiful. Quite muscular. Drink in 2021.

2017 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96-97 Points

Very pretty red with dried berry and strawberry character. Soy sauce. Some fresh floral and mushroom character. Full bodied, round and layered with chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Lovely length and structure.

2017 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96-97 Points

Beautiful, dark berries, strawberries and perfume. Flowers, too. Full bodied, very tight and chewy with polished tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Give this time to show it’s true glory.

The Wine Advocate, Mid-October 2018 New Releases

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

During my tasting visit to the winery in August 2018, Mark Aubert informed me that they were all done picking before the fires in 2017. In fact, I had visited Aubert in 2017 at the end of August, which was the first day of their harvest. Harvest went on for about four more weeks. Mark informed me that the winery was closed up tight during the fires to prevent smoke infiltration. Power went off for about an hour but they have a back up generator, so there was little if any impact on the wines. Ultimately, wines don’t lie, and the 2017 tank samples that I tasted with Mark back up up all the information he gave me.

As usual, these 2017 Chardonnays took 4-6 months to complete fermentation. Therefore, Mark pointed out, the alcohol accumulates slowly and integrates very well over that time. It’s worth noting that Mark doesn’t rack super clean, offering a little sur lie savoriness to the wines. As always, he never filters anything.

The Pinots saw about 10-15% whole cluster and were bottled in June 2018. All the 2017 Chardonnays will be bottled in mid-December 2018. There is an incredible clarity and depth of flavors revealed in the Chardonnays in particular already and, as readers will take away from my notes and scores, I couldn’t be more excited about what 2017 has delivered in the Aubert vineyards.

2017 Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 96-99 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay CIX Estate has an incredibly intense nose of lemon peel, green mango, fresh pears and powdered ginger with suggestions of baking bread, chopped cashews, lightly buttered popcorn and crème brûlée. The palate is full-bodied, concentrated and bold with a racy line carrying the citrus and savory layers to an incredibly long finish.

2017 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 96-99 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard has quite a decadent nose of pineapple upside down cake, almond croissant, peach cobbler and apple crumble with hints of marzipan and orange blossoms. The palate is full-bodied, rich, powerful and opulent in the mouth, with a wonderful oiliness to the texture and a seamless backbone of freshness to give it just enough lift, finishing very long and savory. This is a powerhouse that should offer amazing aging potential.

2017 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96-99 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard delivers an incredibly spicy nose featuring allspice and nutmeg with notions of paraffin, oyster shells and brioche over a core of pink grapefruit, lemon meringue pie and butterscotch with a touch of aniseed. Super concentrated, vibrant and multilayered on the full-bodied palate with a beautiful creamy texture and epic length, it’s very tightly wound—this should be very long lived.

2017 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96-98 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard opens with a gloriously gregarious, exotically scented nose of gingerbread and lemongrass with a core of pineapple, green guava and mango plus a hint of honeycomb. The palate is big, rich, super opulent and sexy with fantastic texture, concentration and seamless freshness, finishing long.

2017 Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 98-100 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Lauren Estate has an arresting nose of lemon barley water, white peaches, grapefruit and toasted almonds with touches of croissant, lime leaves, sassafras and allspice plus a hint of candied ginger. Full-bodied and jam-packed with energetic citrus and spice layers, it has a gorgeous satiny texture and fantastic freshness, finishing very, very long with bags of grace!

2017 Chardonnay Powder House Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97-100 Points

The first vintage of this wine, the 2017 Chardonnay Powder House…aromas charge out of the gate exhibiting energetic ripe peach, grapefruit, green tea and sea spray notes with touches of candied orange peel, ginger ale and lemon butter. Full-bodied, very refreshing and beautifully creamy in the mouth, it has layer upon layer of citrus and spice flavors, finishing with amazing persistence.

2017 Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 97-100 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate springs out of the glass with vivacious mandarin peel, white grapefruit and white peaches scents with nuances of yuzu, lime leaves, crushed stones and honeysuckle plus a spicy waft of coriander seed. The full-bodied palate is packed with energy, with a lovely racy line cutting through the intense citrus and spice notes, finishing with compelling, long-lingering mineral and citrus pip notes. Again, this should be stunning with 5-7 years in bottle.

2017 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 97-99 Points

The 2017 Chardonnay UV-SL is a little broody right now, slowly revealing notes of warm apricots, apple pie and pear tart with suggestions of crème caramel, honey toast, sassafras and lime blossoms with a hint of candied popcorn. The palate is full-bodied with a wicked backbone of freshness lifting the densely packed stone fruit and savory layers, finishing very long and yeasty.

2017 Pinot Noir CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95+ Points

The medium ruby-purple colored 2017 Pinot Noir CIX Estate has beautiful red raspberries, cranberry pie and Bing cherries scents with nuances of lavender, dried herbs, red roses and tilled soil plus a touch of underbrush. The palate is full, firm and grainy with lovely ripe tannins and a great core of vibrant red fruit, finishing long and perfumed.

2017 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95 Points

The 2017 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is medium ruby-purple colored with exuberant redcurrants, black cherries and black raspberries notes with hints of violets, chocolate box and rose hip tea. The palate is full-bodied with a firm frame of fine-grained tannins and amazing freshness, finishing very long and juicy.

2017 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95 Points

Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, the 2017 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard gives gorgeous black cherries, pomegranate, fresh blackberries and wild blueberries scents with suggestions of licorice, potpourri, chocolate tart and clove with a touch of dried Provence herbs. The palate is full-bodied with a rock-solid frame of grainy tannins and oodles of freshness supporting the flamboyant black and blue fruits, finishing with an exciting herbal lift.

Wine Spectator – July 31, 2018 – Annual Chardonnay Report

Mark Aubert’s Ambition:
The Napa native makes some of California’s most sought-after Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs

2016 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93

Offers a long embrace of oak, with subtle toast amid the taut green apple, fig and melon flavors, easing on the finish. Drink now through 2021.
–JL

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Eastside Vineyard Russian River
Score: 93

Features a core of green apple, pear, honeydew melon and toasty flavors, showing a touch of pithy citrus in the texture, ending clean. Drink now through 2024.
–JL

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros
Score: 95

Powerful and well-framed, offering a seductive mix of green apple, pear and gooseberry flavors that feature savory accents. The creamy finish offers notes of honey, spice and smoke. Drink now through 2024.
–KM

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons Vineyard Carneros
Score: 96

Voluptuous and creamy, with densely packed flavors of apple pastry, pear tart and peach and hints of mango that are long and rich. The plush, complex finish is filled with notes of spice and dried herbs. Drink now through 2026.
–KM

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Lauren Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 95

Pure, precise and refined, with luscious apple, red peach and lemon curd flavors that are swathed in plush spiciness. Light smoky notes linger on the focused, minerally finish. Best from 2019 through 2026.
–KM

2016 Aubert Chardonnay Sugar Shack Estate Vineyard Napa Valley
Score: 92

Vibrantly juicy, offering concentrated aromas and flavors of apple pastry, pear tart and lemongrass, supported by fresh acidity. The spicy finish is long and richly spiced. Drink now through 2022.
–KM

2016 Aubert Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Score: 93

Well-honed, offering layers of concentrated white fruit flavors that are dominated by a deft mix of citrus, crisp apple and peach. The minerally finish lingers, with fresh acidity. Best from 2020 through 2025.
–KM

 

2016 Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Score: 92

The plum, raspberry and blueberry flavors are pure and direct, ending long and clean. Drink now through 2024.
–JL