Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Best California Chardonnay I’ve Tasted All Year

I taste a ton of California Chardonnay each year, from my own personal collection and samples for tasting reports on the daily wine blog Terroirist. I like all styles of Chardonnay, from stainless steel-fermented, mineral-driven zingers to new oak-laden, creamy, nougaty richness, and everything in between.

But I recently tasted a new (both to me, and the market) Chardonnay that completely floored me. It’s the 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay from Kutch and it’s fucking awesome.

Jamie Kutch has been producing stellar Pinot Noirs from selected sites across Northern California for a decade now, but the 2014 was his first shot at Chardonnay. As a Chard rookie, Jamie stepped up to the plate and hit a goddamn homerun.

For a great piece on what brought Jamie Kutch, a former Wall Street dude, to make stellar wines,
check out this great profile from Lauren Mowery.

Here are my notes on this exceptional Chard…

2014 Kutch ChardonnayCalifornia, Santa Cruz Mountains
Medium yellow color. What a crazy/awesome aromatic burst: lemon curd, lime peel, papaya, topped with crushed shells, chalk dusty, mountain stream, integrated notes of honeyed tea and toasted almond. Holy smokes. On the palate, this is medium/light bodied but not lacking in mouthfeel. So tangy and lively with its acidity, but balanced by richness of fruit (lemon curd, lime peel, tangerine). I get a complex host of sea salt, almond, floral perfume, chalk dust, mineral water, and kisses of cinnamon and green tea. Precise and nervy but so damned delicious, it tingles the palate for so long after the sip goes down. One of the most dynamic, thrilling and profound America Chardonnays I have tasted in a long time. A blend of two sites, Trout Gulch and Zayanta, this is barrel fermented (20% new oak) and aged 18 months. (95 points)

If you’re looking to buy Jamie’s wines,
you can sign up for Kutch’s mailing list.

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