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2017 Kistler Cuvée Cathleen Vineyard Chardonnay

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96+ points
Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate

Winemaker Jason Kesner points out that this is not a barrel selection but a separate block in the vineyard with unique soils of broken shale and red volcanic ash. The 2017 Chardonnay Cuvée Cathleen is youthfully shy on the nose, opening very slowly to notes of dried apple, potpourri, hints of key lime pie and sliced apricot with accents of spring honey, toast and wet stone. Medium-bodied, the aromas bely the palate—it explodes with multilayered flavors ranging from tangy citrus to honeycomb and earthy notions of dried leaves, seamlessly framed by juicy acidity and silkily textured, finishing very long and packed with flavor. "To me, this has several distinct parts of its personality, like gears with teeth," says Kesner. "This hits on all the classic points you look for in a beautifully made California Chardonnay: it's got a nice low pH, that sense of richness, textural complexity and high tones. It's not pervasive, not in your face, not cloying. It has a sense of minerality and a savory component. When all those things become one and they start to blur together and you can’t pick them out—that’s when a wine becomes truly magical to me." Well done!

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