The 2016 Cristom Vineyards Estate Viognier exhibits the pure, and nearly textbook, characteristics of this varietal, with aromas of orange blossoms, honeysuckle, clover, and anise as well as the ripe fruit aromas of peach, apricot, and lychee. Slightly viscous on the palate, with bright and mouth watering acidity that support the fruit structure of the wine, it is well integrated and perfectly balanced.
95 Points – Bob Campbell "Rich, ripe Viognier with orange blossom, apricot, wildflowers and Oriental spices. Big, concentrated and powerful wine with mouth-filling flavours and an almost chewy texture. High alcohol of 14.5% heightens the sense of voluptuousness and adds warmth to the lengthy finish. The wine really evolved as it sat in the glass and will certainly benefit from decanting."
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "Varner's Chardonnay Amphitheater Block is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon peel, almonds, chamomile, earthiness, dried apricot and sage meld together effortlessly. The 2013 Amphitheater is a classic Varner Chardonnay built on phenolic intensity and plenty of savory/floral notes that add nuance, while the fruit is pushed a bit into the background."
96 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "From a site on the eastern side of the Sta. Rita Hills and aged in 50% new French oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard offers a very pretty, perfumed style. Red cherries, red plums, rose petals, and blood orange notes give way to a medium-bodied, ethereally textured, seamless 2016 that has some background oak, a layered, ultra-fine personality, and a great finish. It's going to age beautifully. Again, this is easily the most ethereal and seamless in the lineup and shines more for its nuance and elegance than power or richness. Drink it any time over the coming decade."
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96 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked, whole bunch-pressed, fermented in French oak (15% new), with natural mlf; 11 months in oak. Gleaming green-gold; the cashew/walnut complexity of the bouquet carries through to the palate, but here takes second place to its intense pink grapefruit core. Awesome second-tier wine."
Vinorium Award - 2019 White Wine of the Year: Silver
97+ Points Stuart McCloskey "Sharply focused, linear with a vibrancy which I wasn’t expecting. The floral character comes to the fore which compliments the nashi pear, peach, melon and suggestion of jasmine brilliantly. The palate is expansive with swathes of buttered citrus fruits underpinned with a core of minerals. I’ll be brutally honest, I was expecting a voluptuous Barossa bombshell. Instead, I received an unexpected balancing act between litheness and precision which is extremely impressive. This is one of those rare wines which floats on the palate but delivers to every millimetre. Drinking beautifully now (decant for 20 mins) but will cellar for 8-10 years."
93 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2014 Chardonnay Amphitheater Block wraps around the palate with striking depth. Creamy, ample and expressive, the Amphitheater is all about texture. Orange peel, mint, graphite, candied lemon and sweet floral notes abound in this deeply nuanced Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. There is a lot to like here."
97+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Coming from a terrific site located at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2016 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard boasts phenomenal notes of ripe citrus and white peach fruits, white flowers, and freshly crushed rocks. It's clean, incredibly pure, and elegant on the palate, with a level of tension and vibrancy you don't find too often in the vintage. I followed this bottle for two days and it only improved with air. It's a brilliant Chardonnay from Lato that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and age gracefully for a decade or more. Don’t miss it!"
This season, with its long Indian summer, produced a wine with what we believe to be a particularly interesting future. On appearance its bright straw hue almost sparkles. Blossoms, wet river stones and an expansive medley of yellow peach and grapefruit aromas anticipate what is to follow on the palate. Powerful grapefruit, talc and a compote of other fruit flavours are sustained in a distinctly taut structure.
Bob Campbell "The first Bilancia Chardonnay I have tasted. Fruit from La Collina vineyard and Bridge Pa Triangle. Indigenous yeast and 15 months in oak without fining or cold stabilisation. Attractive, elegant chardonnay with tight citrus, mineral, struck flint and savoury yeast lees and spicy oak flavours. A classy chardonnay with development potential."