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. Naturally, the Park Avenue is not quite as complex or delineated as the other Chardonnays in the lineup, but that will come in time as the vines get older.

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 while avoiding the more bombastic intensity of years past.

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.