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.