A New Years jaunt down to Napa Valley is what many Northwesterners are thinking about this time of year when temperatures are below freezing and sunlight is limited as best. I want to introduce one of the premier producers of Chardonnay in the world. John Kongsgaard has been producing some scintillating Napa Chardonnay for many years now and I wanted to highlight his very special winery.
He is a fifth generation Napan as his family have been in the Napa area since the 1840s. John’s grandfather owned a stone quarry in Napa and John’s father was a Napa County Superior Court judge for more than twenty years. Following graduating high school in the late 1960’s John completed the UC Davis masters in enology and viticulture program. For a short time he worked at the Stony Hill winery in Napa and then worked for at Newton Vineyards as the winemaker from 1983 to 1996. John also studied under eminent wine consultant Michel Rolland. He has a Burgundian feel to all his wines and has indicated that Michel Rolland had a profound influence in his style of winemaking. In 2004 John bought a 150 acre parcel of land on Atlas Peak where vines planted sit at as far up as 2500 feet. His property has a mere five acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Rousanne and Viognier.
John’s last two Chardonnay vintages were absolute heavyhitters. The 2013 Kongsgaard ‘Napa Valley’ Chardonnay (WWB, 95) showed an exotic array of fruit and sublime acidity. This is truly a wine that will cellar for many decades, although it is nearly impossible to resist in its youth. Even better is their brand new release which I reviewed last week, the 2014 Kongsgaard ‘Napa Valley’ Chardonnay (WWB, 97), which is the highest rated North American Chardonnay that I have reviewed in more than two years. Opulent, seductive and impeccable, this wine is a near perfect rendition of Napa Chardonnay. These highly sought after wines can essentially only be found at online stores, such as winebid.com and klwines. Learn more about this magical winery at http://www.kongsgaardwine.com Here are the last two new Chardonnay releases by Kongsgaard.
2013 Kongsgaard ‘Napa Valley’ Chardonnay-The 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay is a striking beauty from Kongsgaard. This spectacular wine opens with inviting aromatics of poached pear, crème brûlée, golden delicious apple and toasted hazelnuts all taking shape beautifully in the glass. On the palate, this leads to rich flavors of poached pear, marzipan, Meyer lemon oil and Gala apple, with suggestions of Shiitake mushroom. This has that dazzling intensity that you can almost feel in the glass leading up to the finish, continues to pull you back in with its seductive flavors. Overall, this is a memorable drinking experience and certainly a one of a kind effort from John Kongsgaard. Drink 2016-2028- 95
2014 Kongsgaard ‘Napa Valley’ Chardonnay- The 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay is another stunning release from John Kongsgaard, which is made from Wente clones, sourced from the famous Hyde and Hudson vineyards in Carneros. Possessing a rich and golden hue, this wine opens with amazing aromatics of butterscotch, beeswax, poached pear, bananas foster and hints of nutmeg and minerals. The aromatics are absolutely intoxicating, as the bouquet is continually bringing you back for more. On the palate there is remarkable structure and weight, having an oily texture, combined with lovely acidity and bright flavors of lemon oil, white truffle, kumquat, Marzipan and crème brûlée. The range and flavor profile is spellbinding, as it enters the exceedingly long, complex finish. Overall, this is a magical wine, which will cellar beautifully for at least another decade. Drink 2017-2028- 97