...bounding out of the glass with a sit-up-and-beg nose of 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.
Aubert Wines produces what many consider California’s first “cult Chardonnay.” Mark Aubert is the owner and operator of the Calistoga-based winery, and his single-vineyard Chardonnays are regularly compared to Grand Cru Burgundies. Aubert, who grew up in Napa Valley and worked as the winemaker for Peter Michael and Colgin, bought seven acres of Chardonnay vineyards in the Sonoma Coast AVA in 2000. Since then he has also planted Pinot Noir in western Sonoma County. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that “it is hard to find better Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs than those created by Mark Aubert under his Aubert label.” Production is extremely limited and the Aubert wines are generally available only through the winery’s mailing list.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.