In a recent (blind) tasting with my tasting group we lined up a selection of amazing 2014 Chardonnays. The 15 of us tasted 10 wines:
- Brewer Clifton 3D (95 Parker)
- Kongsgaard (95 Parker)
- Paul Lato “Souvenir” (96 Parker)
- Evening Land “Summum” (95 WS)
- DuMOL RRV
- Kosta Brown One Sixteen (94 Parker)
- The Hilt “Vanguard” (94 Parker)
- Saxon Brown “Rosella” (94 Parker)
- Roar “Rosella” (95 Parker)
- Tyler “La Rinconada” (94 Galloni)
The race was close, but at the end the result spoke for itself. The WINNER was TYLER “La Rinconada”
Tyler received 7 first, 5 second and 2 third place votes, ahead of Paul Lato “Souvenir” with 5 first, 5 second and 4 Third place votes, followed by Roar “Rosella” with 3 first, 3 second and 5 Tird place votes.
Justin Willett started out as an assistant winemaker and worked his way up owning his own label, which he created in 2005 producing 190 cases. His meticulous attention to detail has elevated him to “Must Have” status among many Chardonnay and Pinot Noir lovers. Working with some of the best vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Barbara county, Justin has wowed many (including me) with his great craft. His latest releases all garnered big press (94 and 95 point ratings) and I’d say they could have been 96 and 97s but who am I to say.
Anthony Galloni 94 Points: “The 2014 Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard encapsulates so many of the attributes that make the Tyler Chardonnays deeply appealing. A slight hint of reduction appears first, before the wine blossoms on the mid-palate and finish. The Rinconada is a Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay with distinct elements of minerality and phenolic intensity that recall the Chardonnays of Santa Maria. In other words, it is a wonderfully complete and deeply satisfying Chardonnay to savor over the next handful of years. This is Justin Willett’s second vintage working with La Rinconada Chardonnay. Last year it went into the appellation wine, but in 2014 he bottled it separately.”
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