Overview of the Wine
After 20 years of winemaking in the Napa Valley, John Kongsgaard launched his own brand of Chardonnay with the 1996 vintage. As former winemaker for Newton Vineyards, John had already become well known for creating California's first unfiltered Chardonnay. Since then, he and his wife Maggy have added Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and a Viognier-Roussanne blend to their portfolio of wines.
The core of their endeavor is the ten acre vineyard planted on a rocky hilltop in southeast Napa Valley which has belonged to the Kongsgaard family since the 1920's. For 50 years the volcanic slopes sustained a small herd of skinny cattle and provided the idyllic romping grounds for two generations of lucky kids including John. In the 70's John and Maggy planted eight acres to Chardonnay, adding an acre of Roussanne and Viognier in 1995 and the final acre of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2001 (which had its first crop in 2004).
The extremely rocky soil has the vines on a near-starvation diet, restricting yields to one to two tons per acre of super-concentrated fruit. In addition to these family acres, the Kongsgaards direct the farming under long-term contract on another seven extraordinary acres of land in the Carneros which provide them with Syrah and a few additional tons of Chardonnay important for balancing the high intensity family grapes. Their low-intervention winemaking is modeled after 19th Century traditional European cellar practices (imagine the world before Pasteur and electricity). They avoid adding yeast and bacteria to the wine, and do long elevages in oak with little or no added SO2. At bottling, fining and filtration are avoided in their quest to express the essence of their unique vineyard sites.
Grape / Blend
Napa Valley, California
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Kongsgaard Napa Valley Chardonnay is both opulent and energetic, embracing all of Chardonnay’s splendor. Peach and honey rise over the toasty brioche aromas, and the density of mineral flavors extend to the end of the wine’s exalted long finish.
90 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (2018)
The 2018 Chardonnay comes 95% from Carneros and 5% from Napa Valley. Barrel fermented in 33% new oak, it spent eight months on the lees, and 18% went through malolactic. It was bottled June 1, 2019. Slowly, it reveals very pretty poached pears, apple pie and apricot scents with touches of beeswax, toasted almond and lanolin. Medium-bodied, the palate has great poise and finesse, delivering a racy backbone and loads of tight-knit stone fruit flavors, finishing long and toasty.
Product size: 750ml