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California Wines

California Wines

California Wines

California Wines

With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world’s most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region’s produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it.

While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California’s most talented.

Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover worth their salt would die to visit. California’s quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine, making it feel like a unique, standalone piece, rather than a derivative.

A New World region rises to join its viticultural forebears. Its meteoric rise to fame has been nothing short of stunning, and today California can compete with the world’s most prominent wine regions.

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2014 aubert chardonnay cix California White

Lastly, the virtually perfect 2014 Chardonnay Cix Estate, planted with a Montrachet clone on Goldridge soils, again exhibits amazing intensity, notes of wet gravel interwoven with apple blossom, caramelized citrus, apricot, white peach and honeysuckle. It is full-bodied, multidimensional and a profound glass of Chardonnay.Robert Parker | 99 RPDense and racy in style, the 2014 Chardonnay CIX Vineyard is one of the more approachable wines in this lineup. Here the Montrachet clone gives a Chardonnay with good up-front intensity and plenty of power. Although attractive, the CIX doesn’t quite have the complexity, nuance or persistence of the best wines in the range.Vinous Media | 94 VM

94
VM
As low as $429.00
2018 aubert chardonnay carneros California White
As low as $139.00
2018 aubert chardonnay hudson vineyard California White

Ripe-peach, chalk, smoked-almond, matchstick and phenolic aromas. Floral notes, too. It’s full-bodied, creamy and oily. So balanced and restrained, yet dense and impressive. Minerally. Give this time.James Suckling | 99 JSThe 2018 Chardonnay Hudson is sourced from Hudson selection, Old Wente clone vines that are 22 years old and planted on the Napa side of Carneros. The nose is redolent of butterscotch, baked apples, spice cake and chopped cashews with a core of baked pineapples and preserved lemons. The rich, full-bodied, decadently fruited palate offers layer upon layer of savory flavors with compelling lemony sparks and a seamless acid backbone, finishing seductively creamy and on a long-lingering honey-nut note.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe 2018 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard is another superb wine in this range. Unctuous and creamy, with striking freshness, the Hudson has so much to offer. White pepper, mint, orchard fruit and lemon confit are all given an extra kick of intensity in this racy, beautifully layered Chardonnay from Aubert.Antonio Galloni | 94-97 AGConcentrated poached pear and apple pastry flavors are plush and open-textured. Shows juicy richness midpalate. Buttery pastry notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2024. 851 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

99
JS
As low as $199.00
2018 aubert chardonnay sonoma coast California White
As low as $125.00
2018 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard

The 2018 Aubert Pinot Noirs were bottled at the beginning of July 2019. Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, the 2018 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard rolls out of the glass with intense notes of Morello cherries, rhubarb, raspberry pie, bouquet garni and lilacs with suggestions of Marmite toast, fungi, fragrant soil and forest floor. Full-bodied, the palate is packed with crunchy red berries plus loads of earthy accents, framed by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with a wonderfully spicy kick. Delicious now, this should age incredibly well, generously rewarding those with enough patience to defer their gratification.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RPPowerful and structured, with minerally richness to the fine-edged red fruit and savory spice flavors. The sleek finish offers impressive purity and clarity to the notes of hot stone, flint and underbrush. Best from 2021 through 2026. 993 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSVery fruity with cherry and dried-strawberry aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, tannic and chewy, yet polished and tight. It needs time to open. Available fall 2020. Better after 2022.James Suckling | 95 JSThe 2018 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is the darkest and richest of the three Pinots in Mark Aubert’s lineup. Black cherry, chocolate, licorice and herbs are all broad and ample in the glass. The UV is a Pinot of gravitas, power and textural intensity. Ideally, readers should give it a few years in bottle, as the tannins are pretty imposing at this stage, just a few months after bottling.Vinous Media | 93 VM

95
JS
As low as $235.00
2019 aubert chardonnay hudson vineyard California White

From a 20+-year-old section of Hudson selection Old Wente clone vines, the 2019 Chardonnay Hudson (a barrel sample) delivers a full-on exotic nose of tropical fruits, pineapple upside-down cake, beeswax and spiced pears with an undercurrent of cashews and brioche plus a touch of yuzu zest. Full-bodied, the palate is satisfyingly savory and multilayered, with tons of mineral sparks accenting the opulent fruit, and the long, decadent finish is beautifully offset by racy freshness.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97-99 RPAn inviting nose of jasmine, lemon leaf, chalk and beeswax. Full-bodied and light on its feet with delicate expressions of herbs and spices that carry over the palate in layers. Subtle vanilla bean and toasted thyme on the palate. Supremely elegant. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 99 JSThe 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.Vinous Media | 96-98 VMThere’s unctuous minerality and savoriness to the baked apple and dried pear flavors that are lacy and well-spiced, with toasty and buttery accents on the broad-textured finish. Elegant and complex. Drink now through 2026. 579 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

97-99
RP
As low as $209.00
2019 aubert chardonnay russian river vineyard California White
As low as $165.00
2019 aubert chardonnay eastside California White

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. Montrachet clone on Riparia rootstock in a rocky site yields a Chardonnay of rare distinction and class.Antonio Galloni | 98-100 AGA lovely nose of fresh herbs and ground, peppery spice with fresh flowers, lime leaf and baked citrus. Full-bodied and speckled with white pepper and honeysuckle. Driving and well-balanced acidity is at the center of the palate and makes it hum with fruitful intensity. Such a pleasure to drink. Truly superb. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 99 JSA barrel sample, the 2019 Chardonnay Eastside sails out of the glass with zesty citrus scents of lemons, kaffir lime leaves and mandarin peel with an underlying jasmine perfume and a waft of blanched almonds. The palate is tightly wound and very finely knit, delivering loads of nuanced layers and a crisp backbone, finishing long and steely.Eastside is a warmer site in Russian River, composed of very rocky, gravelly soils, forcing the vines to really struggle. It is planted to Montrachet clone. Aubert usually harvests this second, after Sugar Shack.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-98 RPThis sings with rich toastiness to the ripe, juicy and powerfully structured white fruit and cooking spice flavors that are backed by firm acidity. Buttery midpalate, with a glistening finish that shows accents of dried tropical fruits. Drink now through 2028. 1,014 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WS

98-100
RP
As low as $499.00
2019 Aubert Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard

Layered aromas of dried violets and roses, ripe red and black fruit, coriander and a hint of eucalyptus. Full-bodied with bright, humming acidity that amplifies the flavors of dark fruit and mint. Densely packed flavors of melted chocolate, espresso and overturned earth. Chewy finish. Simply delicious. Best after 2024.James Suckling | 97 JSThe 2019 Pinot Noir UV-SL Vineyard comes from vines planted in 2006. The wine was bottled at the beginning of July 2020. Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, it starts out with beguiling scent notions of crushed rocks, tilled soil, truffles and garrigue over a core of kirsch, red currant jelly and black raspberries before giving way to a spicy, fragrant perfume of cardamom, Provence herbs and lavender. The full-bodied palate is super intense and fantastically layered, offering a rock-solid backbone of racy freshness and firm, fine-grained tannins. It finishes on a persistent earthy/ferrous note.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RPThe 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.Vinous Media | 96 VMElegant and harmonious, with powerfully structured flavors of dark fruit and Asian spice, backed by rich acidity and supple tannins. There’s minerally snap midpalate, with a finish that shows hints of anise and black olive. Best from 2022 through 2028. 1,202 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WS

97
JS
As low as $179.00
2019 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard

Layered aromas of dried violets and roses, ripe red and black fruit, coriander and a hint of eucalyptus. Full-bodied with bright, humming acidity that amplifies the flavors of dark fruit and mint. Densely packed flavors of melted chocolate, espresso and overturned earth. Chewy finish. Simply delicious. Best after 2024.James Suckling | 97 JSThe UV site is right in the middle of Russian River, planted to Calera and Vosne-Romanée (suitcase) clones. The 2019 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard was aged in French oak, 60% new, and bottled at the beginning of July. Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, the nose is wonderfully perfumed, featuring notes of red roses, underbrush, wild sage and menthol over a core of pomegranate, black raspberries and wild strawberries. The palate is softly textured and beautifully balanced with full-bodied, generous fruit and just enough freshness, finishing long with a red berry lift.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96+ RPThe 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.Vinous Media | 95 VMThis crunchy red delivers flavors of dried raspberry and dark currant, with juicy acidity. Ends with toasty richness on the broad and well-spiced finish, with notes of tarragon. Drink now through 2025. 1,155 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WS

96
JS
As low as $189.00
2021 aubert chardonnay powder house California White

Floral, non-fruity hints of crushed stone and talcum powder appear on the nose of Aubert’s 2021 Chardonnay Powder House, creating an attractive counterpoint to the wine’s honeyed richness and intense white-peach notes. Full-bodied and silky in feel, it’s a bit custardy in texture yet lithe, graceful and long, with an almost mentholated finish. There are 2,000 cases this vintage, from a Forestville vineyard planted in 2015 mainly to Hyde Old Wente, plus a bit of Mount Eden.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95-97 RPLove the aromas of lemon-lime, gunpowder, kiwi, and dried lemons. It’s full, phenolic and solid. This is like red wine in structure. Long and persistent. One for the cellar. Give this some time. Best after 2025.James Suckling | 97 JSThe 2021 Chardonnay Powder House is elegant, polished and also a touch reticent. That won’t be an issue in time, but the Powder House is decidedly reticent today. Strong mineral accents are front and center, while the fruit feels pushed into the background. Mark Aubert’s Chardonnays have historically aged quite well. I expect that will be the case here as well.Vinous Media | 94-96 VM

97
TWI
As low as $179.00
2021 aubert uv-sl vineyard chardonnay California White

Pie crust with brioche, lemon meringue, lime leaf, and blackboard chalk. Very aromatic. Full-bodied, with terrific structure and incredibly complex on the finish with seaweed and umami. Sea breeze, iodine and oyster finish. Superb wine. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 99 JSThe 2021 Chardonnay UV-SL comes from largely Goldridge soils in parcels owned and managed by the Valdez family (UV being the initials of Ulises Valdez, Aubert’s frequent vineyard collaborator, who died in 2018). There are 2,000 cases of this elixir, which offers up classic notes of toasted hazelnuts, white peaches and citrus zest. It’s full-bodied, rich and opulent yet contained and controlled, with great silky length and energy. Aubert describes the oak thusly: "The oak is perfect. It just kisses you with a bit of vanilla and cookie dough." The wine is certainly delicious, and thinking back on it, I wonder if my rating is a bit conservative.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-98 RPThe 2021 Chardonnay UV-SL Vineyard is one of the more exotic wines in the range. Initially a bit ethereal, the 2021 opens beautifully on the mid-palate and finish, where it shows tremendous breadth and notable mineral intensity. The UV-SL is not quite as obvious as some of the other wines in this range, but its pedigree is evident. There’s real density here, and tons of class.Vinous Media | 95-97 VM

98
TWI
As low as $179.00
2021 Aubert Pinot Noir UV Vineyard

Very intense blue fruits with blackberries and hints of licorice. Flowers, too. Some pepper. Full-bodied with lots of bark, mushroom and forest floor. Creamy and polished tannins. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 97 JSThe 2021 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard is bright, punchy and super-expressive. Bright red/plum, blood orange, rose petal, lavender, spice and strong floral/savory accents add nuance throughout. The 2021 is an absolute joy to taste. The UV was done with entirely destemmed fruit, but its aromatic profile offers quite a bit of whole cluster-like character.Vinous Media | 96 VMThe 2021 Pinot Noir UV was bottled in mid-July 2022. Medium to deep ruby-purple colored, it comes bounding out with youthful scents of black cherries, black raspberries, and wild strawberries, plus suggestions of violets, chocolate mint, wild sage, and fragrant earth. The full-bodied palate is fantastically light on its feet, with beautiful freshness and ripe, fine-grained tannins, finishing long and savory. Planted to the Calera clone in 2001 by late vineyard manager Ulises Valdez Sr., right in the middle of Russian River, the soil on this site is a unique mix of sand and dense clay.The Wine Independent | 96 TWIGorgeous, with an inviting core of raspberry, blood orange and boysenberry puree aromas and flavors that stream through, flanked by singed apple wood, dried anise and black tea notes. Shows serious depth but also drive and freshness, as a racy mineral edge lends energy from start to finish. Best from 2024 through 2033. 949 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSFrom a vineyard named for Aubert’s frequent collaborator, Ulises Valdez, and still farmed by his family, the 2021 Pinot Noir UV Vineyard (1,000 cases produced, from a Laguna Road site that’s slightly warmer than Aubert’s other Pinot Noir sources) features bold notes of cherries, cinnamon and wood spice. It’s medium to full-bodied and silky across the mid-palate, finishing long and softly tannic. Nicely balanced and structured, it should age well for more than a decade.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RP

97
JS
As low as $179.00

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