Critical Acclaim


Issue 215, October 2014

With two great vintages (2012 and 2013) in the pipeline, and with 2014 looking superb at the time of my visit, Kongsgaard is overflowing with liquid treasures.

Tasted from barrel:

2013 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge Napa Valley
The 2013 Chardonnay The Judge has no added SO2, yet is amazingly fresh and lively. Tasting like a rock quarry with notes of orange blossom, tangerine oil, white peach and stones, this is an enormously endowed, full-bodied Chardonnay that is far superior to any grand cru white Burgundy I have tasted in many a year. In fact, this is what great Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet and Batard-Montrachet used to taste like before all the oxidative issues began to surface in Burgundy. The textural impression is enormous, but the wine cuts a relatively elegant profile as it dances across the palate. This should drink beautifully for 5-10 years, but who can wait? (97-100) points

2013 Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley
The spectacular 2013 Chardonnay (1,500 cases) exhibits notes of white peach, hints of apricots, pineapples and wet rocks and is amazingly full-bodied, fresh, rich, broad and savory with great fruit on the attack. It should turn out to be one of the estate’s finest Chardonnays given its fresh acids and minerality that buttress the wine’s big, bold, exuberant style. Drink now through 2022. (95-97) points

2013 Kongsgaard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Kongsgaard also produces outstanding red wines. His 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (aged in 100% new oak) was picked at 25-26 brix, and includes 20% Merlot in the blend. One of his strongest efforts, it reveals lots of mocha, white chocolate, créme de cassis, blackberry and graphite notes are present in this well-delineated, full-bodied wine that reflects the intensity, purity and precision of this great vintage.(92-94) points

2013 Kongsgaard The Fimasaurus Napa Valley
The St.-Estèphe-styled 2013 The Fimasaurus Proprietary Red Blend (an equal part blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that are co-fermented) is a massive, hugely tannic effort revealing lots of earth and blackcurrant characteristics. It will test owners’ patience, but those with discipline with be rewarded in 5-8 years with something quite profound. It should keep 2020-2040. (93-95) points

2013 Kongsgaard Syrah Napa Valley
Not to be forgotten is the Côte-Rôtie-like Syrah (about 300 cases). The full-bodied 2013 Syrah exhibits lots of charcuterie, roasted meat, smoked duck, spring flower, black raspberry and blackberry characteristics. I know of no other Syrah that is remotely similar in style. It tastes like a Côte Rôtie on steroids. Drink now through 2025. (95-97) points

Tasted from bottle:

2012 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge Napa Valley
Also amazing, the 2012 Chardonnay The Judge offers impressive aromas of tangerines, orange marmalade, wet rocks, quince, spring flowers and honeysuckle. Impressively full-bodied and majestic with terrific acidity, it is a tour de force in Chardonnay. Furthermore, it is about as “natural” as possible. Thankfully, Kongsgaard is not one to deal in the quintessential B.S. that now seems so prevalent. Drink now through 2025. 98 points

2012 Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley
The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay reveals more buttery popcorn and honeysuckle characteristics, but there is no doubting the minerality, great fruit, super-freshness and 40+-second finish. Drink now through 2024. 95 points

2012 Kongsgaard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Aged in Darnajou barrels, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is filled with lavish, extroverted scents of sweet vanillin, lead pencil shavings, blackberries, blackcurrants, licorice and camphor. This gorgeous effort is very much in keeping with this showy, ostentatious vintage. Drink now through 2030. 95 points

2012 Kongsgaard The Fimasaurus Napa Valley
The 2012 The Fimasaurus Proprietary Red Blend (only 100 cases produced) struck me as a Napa Valley version of the 2003 Château Montrose from St. Estéphe. Abundant minerality, deep, cedary blackcurrant fruit, licorice and whiffs of vanilla and unsmoked cigar tobacco are present in this fabulous, full-bodied stunner. It should age effortlessly for two decades or more. two great vintages (2012 and 2013). 98+ points

2012 Kongsgaard Merlot Napa Valley
Kongsgaard rarely makes Merlot, and there are only 75 cases of his 2012 Merlot. A beauty, it offers sexy, creamy chocolaty, Asian plum sauce, and blackcurrant notes as well as a hint of minerality. Full-throttle and opulent, this layered, stunning Merlot can be enjoyed over the next 15 or more years. 96 points

2012 Kongsgaard Syrah Napa Valley
The 2012 Syrah is a compelling example of this varietal. It is 100% Syrah, but it smells as if it includes a large quantity of Viognier. Huge notes of flowers, honeysuckle and lavender jump from the glass of this dense purple-colored wine along with notes of scorched earth, charcoal, smoked meats and a touch of steak tartar. A wine of great intensity and magnificent concentration, it could easily achieve perfection in a few years. Drink now through 2026. 99 points

2013 Kongsgaard Roussanne /Viognier Napa Valley
The 2013 Roussanne/Viognier exhibits terrific acidity. It is a provocative, one-of-a-kind, singular white wine to be enjoyed during its first 2-3 years of life. 96 points

2013 Albariño Napa Valley
The 2013 Albarino cuts a bigger, bolder, richer mouthfeel than those from Spain. It exhibits lots of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, guava, mango and flowery notes. Drink this beauty now through 2016. 91 points