Stephen Tanzer’s May/June 2005

Issue 120


Wine Cellar


Focus on California’s North Coast

Kalin Cellars. 1996 Potter Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($24): Aromas of wet stone, orange blossom and oyster shell, with plenty of oak showing. Palate initially dominated by creamy, vanilla oak, but orange blossom and exotic baking spice notes emerged with aeration. In fact, this showed explosive citrus fruits and peach as it opened in the glass 89(+).

1990 Chardonnay Cuvée CH Sonoma County ($48; one of Terry and Frances Leighton’s "antiquities releases): Pale golden-yellow. Tangy aromas of tangerine and honey, with a hint of grilled bread. Then high-toned and aromatic in the mouth, with a layered, creamy texture and enticing flavors of orange, tangerine, minerals and baked bread. At once rich and refreshing – and much more full of life than the overwhelming majority of California Chardonnays that are ten years younger. 90.

1994 Chardonnay Cuvée LD Sonoma County ($34): Pale yellow-gold, with a green tinge. Fresh, ineffable aromas of ginger, candied orange peel, lavender and pine nut. Fat, sweet and deep, with a real 3-D texture. Like liquid velvet yet possesses excellent cut. A wine of great sucrosity, but kept fresh by its shell of acidity. Finishes very long and brisk. 92.