From Sustainable Champagne to an Unprecedented 100-Pointer: The Best Wines Right Now
Chardonnay: Kosta Browne 2018 El Diablo Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
As great California Chardonnay continues to distance itself from the stereotypical style built around oak and butter, Julien How sepian, winemaker at Kosta Browne, creates a considerable distance between that cliché and this rich but intensely vibrant white.
Savory, wet-stone minerality opens on the nose, intriguingly layered with exotic citrus, orchard blossoms, hints of tropical fruit and crème brûlée. Contradictions abound on the palate: The Chardonnay is mouth-filling and textural to the extreme, but it’s also delicate. Bright apple toggles with stone fruit and lemon zest. Distinctive mouthfeel is the goal, according to Howsepian; he has even introduced some foot-treading to create more solids in the cause of richness.
Would he compare it to France’s great Chardonnays? Not so fast. “We strive to one day evoke California Chardonnay across the globe in a similar vein as Burgundy, in terms of quality and distinction,” he says. “But it’s important for us to remain unique and stylistically at arm’s length.” $160
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Photo by Jessica Miller