2016 Sixto (Charles Smith) Chardonnay Moxee

94
JD
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2016-sixto-charles-smith-chardonnay-moxee

Wine Critic Reviews for 2016 Sixto (Charles Smith) Chardonnay Moxee

The 2016 Chardonnay Moxee comes from more limestone soils and 50-year-old vines planted on the northeastern edge of the Yakima Valley. It’s classic Chardonnay offering beautiful, Chablis-like white flowers, lemon curd, and white peach notes. With a terrific sense of minerality, a concentrated yet balanced mouthfeel, and a great finish, it’s another terrific white from this team.

Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JD
The oldest of the three chardonnay vineyards (52 years) and low-yielding, this has a very rich and creamy nose with fully ripe peaches and subtle biscuit spices. The palate is plush, ripe and rich with a wealth of dense, fleshy fruit. Holds long with fresh, rye-like grain and cashews and almonds to close. Quiet esoteric and darn good chardonnay. Drink now.

James Suckling | 94 JS
The 2016 Chardonnay Moxee Vineyard has a vibrant yet slightly boozy core on the nose, marked with aromas of dusty lemon peel, peach skin and spiced pears along with hints of fresh-baked croissant. The full-bodied palate is rich and ripe, with an expressive mid-palate that is generous and weighty. The wine lingers long with flavors of creamy lemon panna cotta on the lavish and robust finish. Only 316 cases produced.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RP
(Sixto works with this entire 19-acre vineyard planted in 1972 on limestone soil and starting in 2018 some of this fruit will enable further expansion of the Chardonnay Uncovered bottling): Deep yellow. Fresh scents of peach and citrus fruits. More substantial on the palate than the Frenchman Hills version, with harmonious acidity giving energy and finesse to the lemon curd and chamomile tea flavors. Chewier on the back end than the Roza Hills version, with the finish showing more of a tactile, phenolic quality and a note of nutmeg. Incidentally, Leighton makes these wines with wild yeasts and allows them to complete their malolactic fermentations.

Vinous Media | 92 VM
Graceful and sleek, with pear, lemon curd and stony mineral flavors that pick up speed toward the vibrant, steely finish. Drink now through 2022. 316 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 92 WS

Wine Details on 2016 Sixto (Charles Smith) Chardonnay Moxee

More Information
Producer Charles Smith
Region Washington: While California definitely owns the spotlight when it comes to excellent American wines, Washington winemakers should certainly not be underestimated. While their traditional focus was set firmly on refreshing, illustrious white wines, they've adopted French red varietals like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since then, they've been achieving excellence in both categories and can compete with the world's most prestigious viticultural titans.

Flavor-wise, you can expect a healthy amount of variety when it comes to Washington's finest wines. From acidic and fruity bottles that can shake you up from even the deepest slumber or sadness to rich and ripe powerhouses that command the respect of everyone in the room after as much as a single whiff. Juicy raspberries that gently tickle your tongue, deep and noble blackberries, intense cherries and earthen oak - these are the flavors that characterize this region, despite the presence of an entire orchestral symphony of other aromatic notes. A sampling of fine wine from Washington is a lot like being seduced, so why not uncork one of these bottles for a potential or existing partner? With a drink of this quality, those romantic sparks will turn into a fireworks display, as your emotions are laid bare and intensified, and you make a connection that can last a lifetime.
Country US: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Type of Wine Washington White
Varietal Chardonnay: Chardonnay has carved its path towards the title “king of white grapes” in subtle yet striking fashion, playing instrumental roles throughout the course of history. It was the chosen grape variety which celebrated the inception of the very first Champagne house - Ruinart, which insists “Chardonnay is the golden thread that runs through the Ruinart taste. “ “Remember men, it’s not just France we’re fighting for, it’s Champagne,” Winston Churchill. The infamous and celebrated French author, Alexandre Dumas once declared a high quality chardonnay wine from Le Montrachet was one that is only appropriate to sip “on bended knees, with head bowed.” And of course, history was made once again when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first prize in the famous tasting of the “1976 Judgement of Paris,” changing the world’s view on California Chardonnay, inspiring vintners and altering the landscape of California winemaking forever.

The origin of the Chardonnay grape can be traced back to the small village of Macon in the Burgundy appellation of France. The varietal, whose name means “a place of thistles” in Latin, is the offspring of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Like most prominent grape varietals, the exact circumstances of its inception are unknown; however, it is interesting to note that Gouais Blanc originated in Germany. It is speculated that the ancient Romans, who successfully subdued the Germanic tribes in 6 AD, planted Gouais Blanc in French soil, unwittingly prompting the crossbreeding of the two varietals. If this is the case, the history of the Chardonnay grape goes back much further.

The Noble Chardonnay grape variety is most happy in the winegrowing appellation of Burgundy, its home and birth place. Burgundy’s grand Terroir of marl limestone soils and cool climate allows the Chardonnay grape to express itself to its full zenith. Interestingly, the varietal is extremely flexible and can adapt to a wide diversity of soils, allowing the terroir in which it grows to dictate the qualities of the grape and thus revealing a multitude of personalities. For instance, there are subtle yet distinguishing differences in terroir in the Burgundian villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Chablis, Meursault, Corton Charlemagne, Macon, etc. which are all fashioned in their own unique way. The difference in each Climat or Lieu-dit, such as Le Montrachet (Puligny-Montrachet) and Valmur (Chablis) can take one further down the proverbial “rabbit-hole” and into the wonderful, yet complex world of Burgundy wines. However, Burgundy is but one prime growing location for this tremendously adaptable grape variety.

The spread of Chardonnay would eventually take root in Champagne, where it excelled in the region’s cool climate and chalky, sub-soils. For top Champagne producers, it became the main ingredient in their high quality, high profile Blanc de Blancs. It would also begin to be blended with the two other acceptable varietals of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (red skinned grapes). The chardonnay grape is now planted in 10,000 of the 34,000 hectares of Champagne.

Chardonnay would find its way to California in the late 1800’s but would remain obscure for more than a century due to ignorance of the varietal and lack of knowledge on how to marry it with appropriate terroir. Things changed in the 1970’s when Chardonnay saw a resurgence world-wide, mostly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris. The unthinkable happened when a bottle of 1973 Chateau Montelena bested some of Burgundy’s finest chardonnay offerings from Batard-Montrachet and Meursault. This event helped place California on the map, changing the face of California winemaking forever. It rejuvenated the cultivation of the Chardonnay grape variety, which saw an exponential growth world-wide.
Much like the climats of Burgundy which have their own unique terroir, Chardonnay’s adaptability has found a home in the diverse appellations, terroirs and climates of California. The cool climate locations produce crisp wines with Burgundian nuances, while warmer climates produce wines with opulent, ripe fruit reminiscent of pineapple, mango and papaya. Terroir also dictates the personality, steel and concrete tanks versus oak, and the list goes. From buttery, oak-infused heady wines to crisp, refreshing cool climate fashioned Chardonnays, the grape variety can be extremely modified. There are not enough letters in Microsoft Word to demonstrate all the different nuances, qualities, differences of terroir, climate and winemaking techniques that would encompass in full, the details of the Chardonnay grape.

The well-travelled grape varietal of Chardonnay has become the fascination of consumers around the world, becoming the most written about of all grapes. Today, it is planted in over 40 countries, amassing an impressive 211,000 hectares (500,000 acres) across the globe. From Burgundy to Champagne, Napa to Sonoma, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Chardonnay graces vineyards around the world, captivating its audience with its multiple personalities. “So powerful is the ‘C-word’ on a wine label,” as the famed Jancis Robinson exclaimed. Since its discovery in Macon, this C-word has become a dominant force in the world of wine, changing history, winemaking and the understanding of winegrowing and its powerful attributes to a single varietal.

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