Critical Acclaim


Issue 10, December 2011

This was a thrilling tasting with John Kongsgaard; and his Hudson Vineyard Syrah is one of the most seamless, silky wines I’ve ever tasted. It was also enlightening to taste the older vintages, going back to ’04, to see how the wines develop. I am very happy to report that these age beautifully. Make no mistake though, these are hedonistically styled wines that feature massive amounts of voluptuous fruit and texture, yet what sets them apart is that they also possess brilliant depth, balance, and structure.

2009 Kongsgaard VioRous
Aged for a year in 2-year-old Chardonnay bottles, the 2009 Kongsgaard VioRous is a 50/50 split of Viognier and Roussanne that displays a perfumed, rich array of peach, mineral, golden crème, and hints of flowers on the nose, as well as a medium to full-bodied, seamless, and perfectly proportioned palate. Almost weightless in the mouth, with incredible freshness and focus given the level of richness, this is hard to put down. While I think it will age, I recommend drinking bottle over the coming year or two while it’s still perfumed and fresh. (94 pts.)

2010 Kongsgaard VioRous
Every so slightly richer on the nose, the 2010 Kongsgaard VioRous, also a 50/50 split of Viognier and Roussanne that’s aged for a year in 2-year-old Chardonnay barrels, shows subtle hazelnut, crème, mineral, and peach driven aromas, while still holding on to the freshness and focus of the prior vintage. Medium to full-bodied, ethereal, and light on the palate, with beautiful crispness and purity, this is a top California Rhône white that should be enjoyed over the coming 3-4 years. (94 pts.)

2004 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
Showing the most maturity in the lineup, the 2004 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard presents a brilliant array of underbrush, herbs, raw meat, and spice that’s supported beautifully by perfectly ripe blackberry and currant styled fruits. This full-bodied, utterly seamless, and pure Syrah is still fresh and vibrant, showing a full, layered mid-palate, and a silky finish. While drinking superbly, it seems to just be entering its maturity stage and should continue to evolve gracefully for another decade. (94 pts.)

2005 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
Quite a bit more youthful than the ’04, the 2005 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard is in that adolescent stage where it shows mostly a youthful profile, yet hints at greater complexity and maturity. Fairly bright and perfumed, with gorgeous notes of plum, cassis, blood, violets, and meaty nuances, the wine is full-bodied and impeccably put together on the palate, featuring the hallmark seamlessness of the estate, perfect balance, beautiful ripeness, and a thrilling and decadent finish. At this point, I would give bottles anther 2-3 years of bottle age, and then plan on drinking over the following decade. (95 pts.)

2006 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
My least favorite in the lineup, but still outstanding, the 2006 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard displays outstanding notes of licorice laced raspberries, roasted meats, and hints of violets on the nose. Full-bodied and seamless, yet lacking the vibrancy of the other vintages, and displaying a edgy acid kick on the finish, this still shows superb balance and a hedonistic, lush profile. I imagine it would also show even better had it not been lined up against the ’07 and ’09 vintages. I would plan on consuming bottles over the coming handful of years. (91 pts.)

2007 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
One glorious bottle of wine and utter perfection in a glass is the 2007 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard! This outrageous Syrah boast jaw-dropping aromas of crème de cassis, charred toast, chocolate, and spice that glide effortlessly into a full-bodied, heavenly textured palate that is perfectly balanced and loaded with masses of incredibly polished tannin structure. Despite the overall size here, this has a level of detail and verve that is off the charts. I could not find a fault with this beauty and wanted nothing more than to pour a full glass and kick back on the couch. Given the overall balance and inherent finesse and elegance, this should age effortlessly for 15 to 20 years. One thrilling bottle of Napa Valley Syrah that I wish everyone could taste! (100 pts.)

2008 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
More voluptuous and round than either the ’07 or ’09, the 2008 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard delivers a full throttle, sexy profile with decadent black fruits, mint, roasted meats, and chocolate on the nose. Full-bodied, seamless, pure, and downright hedonistic, yet perfectly balanced and not heavy in the least, this gorgeous Syrah should be enjoyed over the coming 8 to 10 years. (96 pts.)

2009 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
Up there with, and possibly matching the ’07, the 2009 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard has all of the poise and elegance of the ’07 with perhaps a touch more lift and verve texture wise. Displaying profound notes of crème de cassis, raspberry, mineral, graphite, and toasted bread on the nose, the wine is full-bodied and amazingly focused and rich on the palate, showing perfect balance, a powerful, seamless texture, and a decadent, harmonious finish. A thrill ride of a Syrah, this borderline perfect wine should age effortlessly for 15+ years. (99+ pts.)

2010 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
Tasted out of two separate barrels, the 2010 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard looks to be up there with best of the estate’s Syrahs and shows brilliantly focused and pure aromas, a full-bodied, seamless, yet structured feel, and a finish that just wouldn’t quite. More in the line of the ’09 with its energetic and lithe feel, as well as underlying tannic strength, this should benefit from 2-3 years (if not more) of bottle age and have a very long drink window. Lovers of Napa Valley Syrahs should not miss this estate’s wines! (96-99 pts.)