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February 201196-100 One of my favorite Aubert offerings that typically has a Montrachet-like character emerges from the Reuling Vineyard. Made from a suitcase clone from Burgundy’s most famous vineyard, it is an extraordinary effort. Readers looking for staggering levels of minerality and depth of flavor should check out this Chardonnay. The 2009 Chardonnay Reuling Vineyard may be the richest 2009 Aubert made. It is close in quality to the complexity and intensity of the 2009 Chardonnay UVSL. The 2009 Reuling reveals abundant notes of fruit blossoms, honeysuckle, apple skins, pears and a liqueur of crushed rocks. Superb intensity, medium to full body and a long finish make for a sensational wine. Mark Aubert’s brilliant Chardonnays continue to place this winery in California’s top Chardonnay hierarchy, sharing the same rarified air as Marcassin, Kongsgaard, Peter Michael, Luc Morlet, Kistler, Hartford Court and DuMol. These cool climate, usually hillside sites on the Sonoma Coast are cropped low, the wines are fermented in new French oak and bottled without fining or filtration. I am on Aubert’s mailing list, and while I never seem to have enough wines to age very long, a recent tasting of his 2004s revealed them to still be in splendid condition. With a few noteworthy exceptions, aging California Chardonnay beyond a decade is a fool’s game, but certain older Marcassin and Mt. Eden Chardonnays have impressively stood the test of time. I am sure Aubert’s would also, but who can defer their gratification that long?
December 15, 201195 Firm, tight and concentrated, with a beam of ripe pear, anise, honeydew melon, brioche and nutmeg flavors. Firms nicely, unfolding with layers of complexity. Drink now through 2018. 411 cases made.
February 201294 The 2009 Chardonnay Reuling Vineyard is the biggest and richest of these 2009 Chardonnays. Pastry crust, spices, tangerine and dried apricot are all woven together beautifully in this large-scaled, expressive Chardonnay. Aubert used 100% new barrels here, which comes through ever so slightly in the texture of the fruit. An exuberant, explosive finish rounds things out in style. This is a stunning set of wines from Mark Aubert. Both the Chardonnays and Pinots developed considerably over the time I followed them. Readers should open the wines at least several hours in advance. In general, the 2010s are brighter and more focused than the 2009s, which are more generous. Alcohol levels are also lower across the board in 2010. The Chardonnays spend 10-12 months in barrel, followed by 2 months in oak, and are usually bottled around Christmas. The cellar is kept cold to encourage slow malos, which occur in the spring. The wines are never racked until they are prepared for bottling with no fining or filtration. The Pinots begin their vinification with cold soaks that last 5-6 days. The wines are only racked when they are bottled, which usually takes place in September. Aubert describes his Pinots as largely inspired by his experiences with the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines he made at a number of properties, including Colgin, Sloan, Bryant and Futo, which remains his only consulting client. Stylistically, the Pinots are big, bold and highly expressive. Much the same can be said of the Chardonnays. The 2010 Pinots are more pointed and vibrant than the 2009s, a year in which the fruit ripened evenly as there were no rains.