Critical Acclaim


Issue 233, October 2017

Wines tasted from barrel are scored in parenthesis:

2016 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge Napa Valley
A barrel sample, the 2016 Chardonnay The Judge offers up notes of crushed stones, honey toast and cinnamon over a core of apple pie, beeswax and salted almonds. Full-bodied, rich, concentrated and going into a very mineral phase at this juncture, it delivers a lot of power matched by energy, finishing long and savory. (98-100) points

2016 Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley
A barrel sample, the 2016 Chardonnay has exuberant tropical fruit and honeysuckle scents plus savory/nut notes with hints of brioche, marzipan and ginger. Full-bodied and voluptuously fruited in the mouth, it offers tons of salted nut and savory layers with seamless freshness and fantastic length. It’s worth noting that at this juncture, the wine was still on original lees and hadn’t been racked at all, as per the old Burgundian way. (96-98) points

2016 Kongsgaard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
A barrel sample composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is intensely scented of blackberry pie, blueberry compote and crème de cassis with suggestions of cedar, baking spices and sandalwood. Full-bodied, rich and concentrated, it has lovely firm, velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and spicy. (93-95) points

2016 Kongsgaard The Fimasaurus Napa Valley
The 2016 The Fimasaurus—a barrel sample blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon—sports a very deep garnet-purple color and earthy nose of black soil, tar and tree bark with a core of blackberry preserves, cassis and espresso with touches of roasted nuts and yeast extract. Medium to full-bodied, restrained and earthy, it gives a structured, understated style and great length. (95-97) points

2016 Kongsgaard Syrah Napa Valley
The Syrah comes from a volcanic soil patch at Hudson Vineyard. Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Syrah Hudson Vineyard—a barrel sample—has earthy notes of tar, asphalt and black soil with a core of black currant juice, blackberry preserves and Indian spices plus a waft of Provence herbs. Medium to full-bodied, finely crafted and with a firm backbone of rounded tannins, it delivers loads of spice and a good, long finish. (96-98) points

The following wines were tasted from bottle:

2015 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge Napa Valley
The Judge offers up very pretty orange blossom and jasmine notes with a core of lemon curd, pink grapefruit and guava plus buttered toast and praline. Full-bodied, wonderfully creamy, spicy and gregarious, it has so much verve and expression, finishing very long, layered and minerally. 98-100 points

2015 Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley
The 2015 Chardonnay gives up peach blossoms, apricot preserves, honeycomb and croissant with touches of cashews and jasmine. Full-bodied, rich, opulent and seductive, it has a gorgeous creamy texture and very long, very spicy finish. 96-98 points

2015 Kongsgaard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon delivers notes of preserved plums, blueberry pie and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of chocolate box, cigar box, spice cake and pencil lead. Full-bodied, very firm and very grainy in texture, it has tons of black fruit and spice layers, featuring a fresh blackberry and licorice character on the finish. 94+ points

2015 Kongsgaard The Fimasaurus Napa Valley
The Fimasaurus is of blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, selected for their very tiny berry size. Very deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 The Fimasaurus conjures notions of cassis, blackberry tart and black forest cake with touches of black loam, cedar box, tree bark and beef drippings. The structure on the full-bodied palate is very firm with a good core of lively black fruits and plenty of freshness, finishing with lingering mineral and earth hints. 96 points

2015 Kongsgaard Syrah Napa Valley
The Syrah comes from a volcanic soil patch at Hudson Vineyard. Frost, cold and rain during bloom significantly lowered the yields this vintage. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Syrah Hudson Vineyard has a nose of violets, black pepper and smoked bacon with black cherries and crushed blackberries at the core plus wafts of chargrill and peppered salami. Full-bodied, rich, decadent and with a lovely soft, rounded texture, it meets all your meat, spice and black fruit expectations and then some! 190 cases made (normally around 300). 99 points

2016 Kongsgaard VioRous Napa Valley
This is a co-fermented field blend made with roughly 70% Viognier and 30% Roussanne, all fermented in old oak. The vineyard is only about 1.5 acres in size, so only 75-90 cases are ever made. The 2016 Roussanne / Viognier gives up notions of honeysuckle, white peaches, applesauce and allspice with a waft of fresh hay. Medium to full-bodied, it has a nice phenolic (tannin) chew providing texture and freshness to the rich, seductive fruit, finishing on a lovely savory note. Drinking beautifully now, it should cellar gracefully for 10-12+ years. 95+ points

2016 Kongsgaard Albariño Napa Valley
Coming from a tiny six-tenths of an acre parcel at Hudson Vineyard, this Albariño sees no malolactic fermentation and gets one year of aging in older oak. The 2016 Albariño gives notes of fresh peaches, Golden Delicious apples and acacia honey with hints of nutmeg, lime leaves and lemongrass. The medium-bodied palate is very fresh and crisp with lovely savory layers and a mineral edge to the finish. 92 points