Critical Acclaim

VINOUS, Antonio Galloni

January 2020

Wines tasted from barrel are scored in parenthesis:

2018 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge Napa Valley
The 2018 Chardonnay The Judge continues a theme seen in the Napa Valley Chardonnay of a wine built on nuance and class more than just on body. I can’t remember tasting a Judge that is this elegant – it is so elegant and so refined. A wine of incredible precision, the 2018 is shaping up to be truly magical. I can’t wait to taste it from bottle. Tangerine oil, mint, chamomile and honeysuckle keep the 2018 wonderfully nuanced and light on its feet. (95-97) points

Kongsgaard 2018 Chardonnay Napa Valley
The 2018 Chardonnay is fresh, delicate and airy, with striking aromatic lift and energy, but a bit less oiliness than is often the case. Citrus confit, white flowers and white pepper add brightness, but it is the wine’s energy and tension that are so distinctive today. This is such a pretty and promising wine. (93-95) points

Kongsgaard 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is bold, pungent and savory. Black olives, grilled herbs, blackberry jam, cloves, iron and leather as well as intense barbeque smoke give the broad 2018 a wild, really exotic character. If I had tasted it blind, I would have pegged it as Syrah. The is an undeniably wild and unusual wine; I am not really sure what to make of it at this stage. It is also a rare vintage that is pure 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. (90-93) points

Kongsgaard 2018 Syrah Napa Valley
The 2018 Syrah Hudson Vineyards is remarkably primary and yet, texturally, it is a wine of tremendous polish and sophistication. Today, it is the wine’s persistence that is most impressive. Like most of the 2018s here, the Syrah is light on its feet, nuanced and all about finesse. I can’t wait to see it in another year. (94-97) points.

The following wines were tasted from bottle:

Kongsgaard 2017 The Judge Napa Valley
The 2017 Chardonnay The Judge is wonderfully polished and nuanced. Tangerine peel, hazelnut, dried flowers, chamomile, mint and lemon confit all open up in the glass. The 2017 has put on quite a bit of texture in the last year and has become much more complete than it was when I tasted it previously. Light on its feet and also incredibly graceful, the 2017 is positively stellar. 96 points

Kongsgaard 2017 Chardonnay Napa Valley
The 2017 Chardonnay is a classic Kongsgaard Chardonnay. Rich and viscous in the glass with tremendous structure, the 2017 possesses remarkable depth and pure power. A classic hint of reduction adds nuance. Tropical and floral overtones add character to a wine that really demands attention; it’s got mine, that’s for sure. This is a fabulous wine. 94 points

Kongsgaard 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is a dark, sumptuous, flamboyantly ripe wine. This is especially opulent, even by Kongsgaard standards. Chocolate, plum, cloves, new leather, licorice and spice build in a pliant, sumptuous Cabernet that will drink well right out of the gate. A year ago, the 2017 was massively tannic; today, it is much more suave and sensual, albeit with huge depth to back that up. 94 points

Kongsgaard 2017 The Fimasaurus Napa Valley
The 2017 The Fimasaurus is going to require quite a bit of time to come together. Dense and explosive in the glass with tremendous aromatic nuance, the 2017 exudes tremendous concentration and soaring aromatic intensity. However, equally huge tannins make the wine hard to drink at the moment – readers need to be patient here. 94+ points

Kongsgaard 2017 Syrah Napa Valley
Ripeness feels really pushed to the edge in the 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyards. Super-ripe black cherry, blackberry jam, bittersweet chocolate, cloves, new leather and mint are all given an extra kick of intensity in the 2017. This rich, ample wine needs time to shed some baby fat. The 2017 was a full-throttle wine from the outset, but today it comes across as especially ripe and exotic. 95 points

Kongsgaard 2018 Viognier Napa Valley
The 2018 Viognier is a wine of tremendous character and nuance. Elegant and stunning in its beauty, the 2018 has so much going on. Apricot, mint, jasmine and chamomile accents all grace this absolutely exquisite, enticing Viognier from the Kongsgaards. 93 points

Kongsgaard 2018 AlbariƱo Napa Valley
Kongsgaard’s 2018 AlbariƱo, from Hudson, is another positively stellar wine in this range. Crushed rocks, lime, mint and white flowers are all perked up by the bright acid that pulses throughout. I would prefer to drink this sculpted, refreshing white over the next few years. The 2018 is undoubtedly appealing; the only problem will be finding it – production is just three barrels. 93 points