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October 201695 The 2014 Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons has a greenish hue to its light-gold color, a fresh, lively nose of poached pears, citrus oil, honeysuckle, a hint of pineapple and tangerine. This is a beautiful, full-bodied Chardonnay to drink over the next decade or more. Mark Aubert continues to set the bar incredibly high for the world-class quality of his Burgundian-styled, remarkable Chardonnays, which come from relatively cool sites spread from Rutherford in Napa Valley to the far reaches of the Sonoma Coast. As I indicated last year, Aubert is at the top of his game, and it is hard to believe any Chardonnay winemaker in the world is turning out a half-dozen Chardonnays at this qualitative level year in and year out. He has had an incredible run of great success, after being mentored by none other than the reclusive and supremely talented Helen Turley when he took over the winemaking job at Peter Michael, then proceeded on to impressive sojourns at Colgin Estate as well as Tom Futo’s winery in Oakville. I have consistently bought these wines since his first vintages, and I’ve been truly amazed at how long they evolve and last. I tend to drink them all relatively young, but I’ve been shocked by his early vintages, such as 2004, that are still incredibly vibrant and youthful. At the end of the tasting at his winery just south of Calistoga, we tasted the 2004 Lauren Estate (which I rated 98) and 2005 Quarry Chardonnay (which I rated 92), and both were in remarkable condition, with an amazing amount of life still left in them. I recently had a 2008 Pinot Noir from a friend’s cellar, and it was exceptional as well, so here’s to Mark Aubert! His legacy is already complete, but he still hasn’t stopped pushing the envelope of quality.
February 201695 The 2014 Chardonnay Larry Hyde and Sons opens with strikingly beautiful aromatics. Sensual, layered and polished, the Hyde boasts fabulous purity, nuance and class. Apricot pit, honey, candied lemon, crème brulee, wild flowers, mint and lightly buttered notes meld into the supple, radiant finish. This is a great example of Hyde.