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Top 10 Wines of the Week, and The Chardonnay Symposium


As eclectic a list as has ever appeared in the Top 10, showing how, in California’s democracy, almost any kind of wine from any appellation can be good. As always, you’ll find my complete reviews and scores in upcoming issues of Wine Enthusiast. Have fun this weekend and play safe.

Jarvis 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. 460 cases, 14.7%, $195. Spectacular 100% Cab, from the Vacas east of Napa. Also, Jarvis 2007 Lake Williams Cabernet.

De Loach 2009 Stubbs Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marin County. 50 cases, 13.5%, $40. There’s not a lot of Pinot in Marin, but what there is is tantalizingly fresh and complex. Also the winery’s 2009 Chardonnay, from the same vineyard.

Neal Family 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. 924 cases, 13.7%, $18. One of the best Sauvignons on the market, and look at that price.

Phillips Hill 2009 Hinterlands Pinot Noir, Mendocino. 140 cases, 14%, $38.  A delicate, transparent and complex young Pinot.

PureCoz 2007 Red Blend, Napa Valley. Mitch Cosentino is back, and in fine style with this Bordeaux blend + Sangiovese.

Calcareous 2009 Viognier-Marsanne, Paso Robles. 437 cases, 14.7%, $28. Dry and racy, with exotic flavors.

J. Keverson 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley. 312 cases, 14.4%, $34. Dry Creek Cabernet at its slightly rustic, charming best.

Hall 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. 8,700 cases, alcohol not known, $22. Rich and fruity, with a touch of gooseberry. Sorry I forgot to note the ABV.

Lost Canyon 2009 Morelli Lane Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley. 340 cases, 14.1%, $45. A big, rich, spicy and delicious Pinot for drinking now. Also their 2009 Saralee’s Pinot.

Gundlach Bundschu 2010 Estate Gewurztraminer, Sonoma Coast. 2,250 cases, 14.4%, $23. Textbook cool climate Gewurz, spicy and fruity.


I hope you’ll come by The Chardonnay Symposium this July 22-23, down in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara County. This is the only fullscale event devoted to Chardonnay in California. I’ll be heading up a symposium; Karen MacNeil will be doing another. Lots of great wine and food, educational seminars and cool winemakers. Now in its second year, The Chardonnay Symposium, I predict, is going to be one of the biggest, most important wine events of the year.

  1. Steve Hare says:

    The Chardonnay Symposium should be interesting. With many trade and winery folks talking up unoaked Chardonnays, the jury is still out if the consumers will embrace them. Over the past 3 decades i’ve spent with winery visitors where i pour them unoaked vs. oaked Chardonnays, about 95% of them prefer the big, oaky, buttery (and sweet) monster Chardonnays.

  2. Kathy Marcks Hardesty says:

    Steve Hare, I don’t know which winery you’re associated with (or own) but I often hear the opposite from consumers: they lament the fact that more wineries are producing Chardonnays that are unoaked, or complain that those with oak don’t have enough! I’m a wine and food columnist on the Central Coast, and a long time friend of Steve Heimoff’s.

    To SH, I do believe the Chardonnay Symposium isn’t limited to California and that they hope to grow this event so that it includes exceptional Chard producers from around the world–exactly as World of Pinot Noir has done. This year one of my favorite Oregon producers, Chehalem, is participating in your panel at Bien Nacido Vineyard. I’m thinking that panel might not have been set in stone when you were promoting this. I look forward to seeing your there!

  3. Hi Kathy, I think you’re right, the Chardonnay Symposium people have high hopes to make this a worldwide event. Don’t forget, World of Pinot Noir started as a local Central Coast event. And look at it now!


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