In 1996, Jonathan Maltus, intrigued by Jacques Thienpont’s winemaking at Le Pin, scoured Bordeaux’s Right Bank for vineyard land. In the heart of Saint-Émilion, he discovered a 5-acre jewel adjacent to Premier Grand Cru Classé Château Angélus, and bought it on the spot.
Thirteen years later, Maltus — now one of the torchbearers of the Right Bank’s “Garagiste” movement — earned a 99-point rating from The Wine Advocate for his 2009 Le Dôme. One year later, Robert Parker upped the ante, as the 2010 Le Dôme joined Châteaux Petrus and Cheval Blanc in the Right Bank’s 100-point club.
Given the 2010 Le Dôme’s $300/bottle price tag, most French winemakers would have sat back, basked in the critical sun, and counted their winnings. Not Maltus. Intrigued by the massive black-fruit concentration of Opus One, Caymus, and Staglin, Maltus flew to San Francisco and made a beeline to the doorstep of Napa Valley’s most celebrated grape grower, Andy Beckstoffer.
Each year, four Beckstoffer vineyards — To Kalon and Missouri Hopper in Oakville, the famous Georges III in Rutherford, and Beckstoffer’s Las Amigas Vineyard in Carneros — eke out a few tons per acre of the most sought-after grapes in Napa Valley. Maltus, as always shooting for the stars, contracted for a few tons off of each site. The price he purportedly paid? Upwards of $15,000/ton!!
What drew Andy Beckstoffer to Carneros? Chardonnay flourishes in cool microclimates where the growing season is stretched out, allowing small berries to fully mature as acids remain firm. Situated around San Pablo Bay just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Las Amigas Vineyard is cloaked in thick fog each morning. The fog burns off before noon and bright sunshine bathes the vines. Steady breezes cleanse the vines, allowing small-berry Chardonnay to mature incrementally. In the superb 2013 vintage, called “the greatest in 37 years on California’s North Coast” by Robert Parker, Las Amigas performed brilliantly, giving birth to this gorgeous new release.
Bright pale golden-green. Mouthwatering aromas of ripe citrus, white peach, and anise. Big, rich, and weighty on the attack. Despite the intense concentration, still beautifully focused. Filled with a tropical fruit mix of ripe lemon, pineapple, apple compote, and pear. While finished alcohol comes in at a hefty 14.9%, there’s no sense whatsoever of heat or over-ripeness. The wine finishes beautifully, with plenty of tension and vibrancy.
92 points from Stephen Tanzer, still the most respected Burgundy critic in the world. $49 on release. $22 today. Shipping included on 4.
Very good Chardonnay. In the classic style.
Classical chardonnay body, not overly oaky, very long finish.
Full Body & Creamy
Very good wine for the price
My dog is named Rebel (I adopted him at age two from a very Southern family) and this wine seemed a perfect fit. I enjoyed my first bottle and it was as lively and full of spirit as my dog.
I was hoping for a great, maybe good chardonnay. Not bad but could have done as well at Kroger.
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