Chardonnay lovers, this rich, racy, French-oak-kissed rare gem is for you. Joining the ranks of Ramey, Kistler, Hyde de Villaine, and Patz & Hall, this 2016 Fait-Main Penhoet Chardonnay from Toyon Farm Vineyard is one of the best Napa Carneros Chardonnays you’ll buy this year. Here’s why.
Winemaker Benoit Touquette has worked alongside John Kongsgaard, producer of “The Judge,” which is widely considered California’s greatest Chardonnay. He’s also spent time under the wing of Andy Erickson at Screaming Eagle and has achieved his own 100-point perfection at Realm. Touquette’s Midas touch with Napa Chardonnay is profound. Although Benoit is a native of Bordeaux, his Fait-Main Toyon Chardonnay is pure Burgundy. The perfectly balanced wine is led by rich and fleshy white peach, nectarine, followed by yellow apple and fresh cut herbs. Racy, gorgeously-woven layers of French oak, it is seamless and in brilliant harmony.
This is a single-vineyard Chardonnay from the stunning Toyon Farm Vineyard, and with such low yields in 2016—Touquette produced 125 cases, down from 200 the previous year—it’s a very good chance that beyond Fait-Main mailing list subscribers, the only owners of this Carneros Chardonnay will be Wine Access clients.
Benoit Touquette’s Napa Cabernets from Fait-Main, Teeter-Totter, Realm, Kata, and Hartwell are nothing short of world-class, marked with a clear distinction in the glass that is Benoit’s alone. But when he set out to make a Chardonnay under his Fait-Main label, he turned to a vineyard well removed from the up-valley Cabernet hotbeds that have made him famous. The result is a truly under-the-radar brilliant Chardonnay from a site that feels like it’s in another world.