2009 Kongsgaard - Chardonnay The Judge 750ml

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IWC 96  
2009 Kongsgaard - Chardonnay The Judge Front View
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Professional Reviews For This Wine


International Wine Cellar | Rating: 96

Medium yellow. Nose begins a bit tropical and closed-in but aeration brings great lift from orange rind, lime and iodiney sea breeze. Billowing and weightless on entry, then builds inexorably in the middle palate, showing subtle salty and leesy nuances and powerful crushed-stone minerality. Kongsgaard bottles his chardonnays during the second June or July, when they're beyond the primary, tutti-frutti stage. This extremely backward wine finishes with outstanding grip, piquant citrus lift and great persistence. California chardonnay doesn't get any better than this--and very little Burgundy can equal it either.

Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: Issue 162

Professional content appears courtesy of Vinfolio

Average rating: 96, based on 1 reviews

Collector Data For This Wine

134 bottles owned by 28 collectors.

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About This Producer


Fifth-generation Napa natives John and Maggy Kongsgaard produce The Judge, Chardonnay, VioRous, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Low yielding vineyards and traditional low-intervention winemaking techniques produce powerful, graceful wines which are high intensity expressions of vineyard and variety.

The core of their endeavor is the ten-acre vineyard they planted in the late 1970s on a rocky hilltop in southern Napa Valley which has belonged to the Kongsgaard family since the 1920s. In addition to these family acres, they direct the farming under long-term contract on another seven acres in Carneros and three acres near St. Helena. The winery, on the eastern rim of Napa Valley, is a cave drilled into the volcanic rock. Production is limited to what they can make with their own hands.

Wine Varietal: Chardonnay


Arguably the best dry white wine grape out there, Chardonnay is grown all over the globe. In addition to being the backbone of fine white Burgundies, Chardonnay is also one of the three major grape varieties used in producing Champagne. Susceptible to a myriad of complications, Chardonnay berries are relatively small, thin-skinned, fragile, and oxidize easily. Chardonnay grapes can be sensitive to winemaking techniques and more difficult to handle from harvest to bottling than many other varieties. Some producers will use malolactic fermentation (where harsher malic acid is turned into softer lactic acid and carbon dioxide) to reduce crispness and acidity and add a creamy, buttery texture to wines. The "oaky" character of some Chardonnays comes from fermenting or aging which takes place in oak barrels. Once barrel-aged, Chardonnay may take on notes of vanilla or toast. While Chardonnay is produced worldwide, the best can be found in France, the United States, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and South Africa. Typical descriptors for Chardonnay include mineral, green apple, citrus, tropical fruits, vanilla, butter and smokiness.

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