The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay reveals more buttery popcorn and honeysuckle characteristics, but there is no doubting the minerality, great fruit, super-freshness and 40+-second finish. Drink now through 2024.
The mystical John Kongsgaard came out of the Newton winemaking factory where he was mentored by the great Michel Rolland. However, he has had his own operation for many years in the cool Coombsville hills east of the town of Napa. He also uses purchased fruit from some of Napa’s finest growers, particularly the Hudson Vineyard. His estate includes six acres on Atlas Peak and six acres in Coombsville, and he is in the process of clearing another tract for planting. Although his total acreage is small, the wines are artisanal, individualistic and filled with personality and flavor. Anyone who believes Kongsgaard wines are too alcoholic or rich is missing out on some of the world’s most pleasure-filled and complex elixirs. The Chardonnays include a basic cuvée, which comes from selected parcels John Kongsgaard has long worked with in the Hudson and Hyde vineyards (from Old Wente clonal materials). There is also an estate Chardonnay, the riveting, prodigious The Judge named after Kongsgaard’s father. It comes from a six-acre parcel planted in 1975 in Coombsville that never yields more than ten tons of fruit. It is Old Wente clone material, which old-timers claim, but can’t prove, came from Burgundy’s grand cru Corton-Charlemagne. With two great vintages (2012 and 2013) in the pipeline, and with 2014 looking superb at the time of my visit, Kongsgaard is overflowing with liquid treasures.