Kistler Reviews

Kistler spring 2018 Release

Kistler Reviews Reviews

Antonio Galloni

Kistler’s 2015s are fabulous. Yields were down 25-30% across the board, which gives the wines notable textural richness and intensity. At the same time, acidities stayed high. The interplay of deep fruit and salivating acidity is the key attribute of these wines, and of the vintage more broadly. Two thousand fifteen is the first year in which some of the Pinot lots were done with whole clusters (on the Cuvée Natalie). — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen

Score: 96

The 2015 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen is ample, full-bodied and distinctive, as it always is. Distinctly mineral and savory, the Cuvée Cathleen captures the magic of this tenderloin within the west-facing section of Steve Kistler’s original Moon Mountain vineyard. As always, the Cuvée Cathleen is a Chardonnay of phenolic intensity and structure, with explosive energy and tons of personality. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Kistler Chardonnay Laguna Ridge Vineyard

Score: 95

An addition to the range, the 2015 Chardonnay Laguna Ridge was bottled only in magnum. The 2015 is wonderfully translucent, with striking layers of nuance and flavor buttressed by a backbone of salinity. One of the more focused, vibrant wines in this range, the Laguna Ridge is also one of the few wines in this range I would be tempted to cellar for a few years. Part of that is the magnum only format of course. Hints of smoke, dried pear and graphite add the closing shades of complexity in this deeply expressive Chardonnay. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard

Score: 94

The 2015 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard offers striking finesse to play off a tropically-leaning profile that is somewhat unusual for this wine. Scents of tangerine, pineapple, mint and dried flowers are nicely delineated. Medium in body but with superb depth, the 2015 has a lot to say. The 2015 finishes with substantial weight and gravitas that only add to its considerable appeal. Over the last year, the fruit expression has become more overt than it was at the outset. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse

Score: 93

The 2015 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is deep, powerful and quite expressive, with a distinctive stony character that marks the mid-palate. Orchard fruit and floral notes appear later, but the Trenton Roadhouse is defined by its center of minerality and savory notes that dominate over the more obvious expression of fruit that is found in some of the other wines. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard

Score: 93

The 2015 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard offers good immediacy and plenty of up-front appeal, if not quite the nuance, delineation or complexity of the most expressive wines here. Next to the other wines in this range, the Hyde offers plenty of fruit depth and richness, but I would have liked to see more Hyde character, especially given the pedigree of this site. Today, the Hyde is uncharacteristically timid. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard

Score: 97

The 2015 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard is stellar. In this range, the Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay is distinguished by its bright aromatics, lift and nuance, all of which confer a great deal of freshness. This hillside site, with its myriad exposures, volcanic ash soils and a mix of Wente and Mount Eden clone Chardonnay on St. George rootstock yields Chardonnays of unparallelled class and distinction. This is a dazzling wine from Kistler. — Antonio Galloni

Past Reviews:

Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard

Score: 93+
The weight and power of the vintage really come through in the 2015 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard, and yet the wine doesn’t feel quite put together just yet. Even so, there is good depth and creaminess to the tropically-leaning flavors, along with that super-classic hint of matchstick reduction that is such a signature of Hudson Chardonnays. In this tasting, the Hudson is a bit awkward. I would give it another 6-12 months in bottle. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch

Score: 94

The 2015 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is another rich, ample wine. Here, the interplay of bright minerality, savoriness and structure is quite appealing. Sage, menthol, dried pear and chamomile add layers of dimension to this very pretty, layered Chardonnay. All the elements simply fall into place in this effortless, super-distinctive wine. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard

Score: 93

Kistler’s 2015 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard is soft, open-knit and gracious, all of which will make it easy to drink and appreciate upon release. Orchard fruit, dried flowers, chamomile and almond notes grace a subtle, understated Chardonnay that speaks in hushed tones. Today, the McCrea is a bit subdued relative to how it showed from tank. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard

Score: 93

The 2015 Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard is marked by expressive citrus and floral notes, with a bit more lift, translucence and brighter acids than the Durrell, which lies a few feet away and is planted with the same clonal material, but on different rootstock. Even with all of the natural richness of the year, the Stone Flat is quite gracious and delicate. Bright, saline notes extend the finish nicely. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard

Score: 94

Breadth, power and richness are the signatures in the 2015 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard. The 2015 has really come together nicely over the last year. Creamy and generous, with terrific resonance, the Durell will appeal most to readers who like larger Chardonnays. Naturally forming small clusters and small berries in these diseased vines give the Durell much of its distinctive personality. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie

Score: 97

Another standout, Kistler’s 2015 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie is a potent, massively concentrated wine. The presence of Swan clone Pinot as a complement to the Calera clone gives the Cuvée Natalie a palpable sense of aromatic lift and a slightly redder profile than the Laguna Ridge. Rose petal, mint, lavender and raspberry jam are some of the many notes that build as this racy, voluptuous Pinot shows off its personality. Deep, pliant and super-expressive, the Cuvée Natalie appears to have a very bright future. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Pinot Noir Laguna Ridge Vineyard

Score: 98

The 2015 Pinot Noir Laguna Ridge (formerly Kistler Vineyard) is just as riveting from bottle as it was from tank. Inky, deep and explosive, the 2015 hits the palate with a rush of blue/purplish fruit, creme de cassis, lavender, menthol, game, white flowers and incense. Vivid and spectacularly rich, this full-throttle Pinot has so much to offer. The tannins need time to soften, but all the elements are in the right place. A flourish of floral and savory notes add the closing layers of complexity. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen

Score: 96

A wine of total understatement and class, the 2014 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen is bright, lifted and wonderfully detailed. Citrus, white flowers and orchard fruit and soft contours shape this sublime, totally finessed Chardonnay. Along with the Hudson, the Cuvée Cathleen is one of the standouts in 2014. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard

Score: 95

The 2014 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard shows plenty of its typically deep, phenolic structure. Graphite, candied lemon, mint and sage gradually open up in the glass, with veins of underlying salinity that add brightness throughout. These red volcanic soils in this Moon Mountain side yield a very distinctive Chardonnay. The 2014 is perhaps not as intense as some other vintages, but in exchange it will drink well young. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard

Score: 93

The 2014 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard is rich, seamless and intense on the palate. It is one of the more overt, tropically-leaning wines in the range. Although not quite as deep or complex as it can be, the Hyde will drink well with minimal cellaring. All the vineyard signatures are present, they just aren’t as delineated as they are in the very best years. Orange peel, lemon confit, spice and a hint of French oak add the last shades of nuance. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse

Score: 92

The 2014 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is one of the more delicate wines in this range. Orchard fruit, lemon confit, white flowers and mint shape this attractive, understated Chardonnay. I would prefer to drink the 2014 over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. This is an exceptionally polished Chardonnay from Kistler. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard

Score: 94

Kistler’s 2014 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard has a real sense of density that distinguishes it from the other wines from Goldridge soils (Trenton Roadhouse and Dutton) in this range. Poised, deep and also gracious – as all the wines are in this vintage – the Vine Hill is wonderfully complete. This is another impeccable, if somewhat restrained, Chardonnay from Kistler. In 2014, this site was dry farmed. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard

Score: 96

The 2014 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard opens with a characteristic reductive note that also adds an element of freshness and aromatic intrigue. Deep on the palate, yet also weightless, the Hudson has a lot going on. Slate, dried herbs, candied lemon and white pepper add to the wine’s super-distinctive aromatic and flavor profile. The Hudson is one of the clear standouts in 2014. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Dutton Ranch

Score: 93

The 2014 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is quite powerful, yet retains its distinctly mid-weight structure and personality. Lemon confit, white flowers and mint are some of the signatures, but it is the wine’s energy and drive that are most in evidence today. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Stone Flat

Score: 93

The 2014 Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard is distinctly mineral, earthy and savory in this vintage, with the fruit pushed more into the background. Graphite, autumn leaves, herbs and chamomile add aromatic intrigue. The Stone Flat is distinguished by its striking aromatic complexity and expressive soil-driven tones. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Durell Vineyard

Score: 93

The 2014 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard offers a compelling interplay of rich fruit, phenolics and brightness, which gives it lovely completeness. Apricot, baked apple, chamomile and a kiss of French oak add to the wine’s creamy, inviting personality. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard

Score: 92

The 2014 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard is soft, open-knit and expressive, all qualities that make this a good choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Dried pear, almond, savory herbs and dried flowers carry through to the persistent finish. This supple, silky Chardonnay will drink well right out of the gate. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard

Score: 95+

Deceptively medium in body, the 2014 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard packs a real punch. Succulent red cherry, rose petal, lavender and violet are all pushed forward, but it is the wine’s inner sweetness and aromatics that stand out. Today, the KV comes across as very restrained, with bright acids and fabulous balance. A rush of sweet red cherry, blueberry and pomegranate leave a lasting impression. The 2014 is going to need a bit of time in bottle to unwind, but it is superb. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Kistler Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie

Score: 96

The 2014 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie has more density, power and richness than the Kistler Vineyard, with darker tonalities of fruit, to match its inner sweetness. The distinctive aromatics of Swan clone are especially pronounced today. Translucent and expressive, with striking shades of red/purplish fruits, the 2014 is magnificent today. Silky tannins and soft contours will make the 2014 nearly impossible to resist upon release. — Antonio Galloni

Robert Parker Jr.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen

Score: 99

The Cuvee Cathleen Chardonnay comes from a rockier block of the Kistler Vineyard, possessing a lot of broken shale and planted predominately to Wente clone selection with a bit of Mount Eden clone. This wine is a 20-barrel cuvee selection from the best of that block. The 2014 Chardonnay Cuvee Cathleen has a youthfully subdued nose of pebbles and wet slate over a core of grapefruit, peach blossoms and mandarin peel, plus the faintest hint of fresh herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is restrained at this early stage, offering tightly wound citrus and mineral notes off-set by refreshing acidity. It finishes long and multi-layered. It is tempting to drink now, but I’d give it 2-3 years for that real “wow” experience and drink it over the next decade or more.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard

Score: 98+

The 2014 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard has very pretty white grapefruit, lemon curd and white peach notes over nuances of honeysuckle, allspice and baker’s yeast plus a touch of chalk dust. Full-bodied and packed with finesse, the rich, concentrated citrus and stone fruit flavors are beautifully marked by crisp acidity and it finishes with loads of mineral layers.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard

Score: 94

The 2014 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard opens with notes of musk melon, lemon curd and baked peaches with hints of cedar, chalk dust and wet pebbles. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the palate with ripe, expressive melon and mineral characters, finishing long and pleasantly oily.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse

Score: 96+

The 2014 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is youthfully shy, offering glimpses at lemon zest, yuzu and grapefruit notes with a touch of crushed stones. Medium-bodied, very fine and elegant in the mouth, it has compelling citrus intensity with a touch of phenolic texture and minerals on the long finish.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard

Score: 96

Opulently scented of exotic fruits and spices, the 2014 Chardonnay Vine Hill Road Vineyard offers up notes of ginger and anise over a core of pineapple paste, passion fruit and green guava. The palate is beautifully structured with a lively backbone of acid supporting the rich, seductive fruit, finishing long and creamy.

 

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Dutton Ranch

Score: 96

The 2014 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch has expressive scents of ripe peaches, honeydew melon and pink grapefruit with touches of toasted almonds, croissant and acacia honey. There’s a wonderfully rich, seductive and opulent quality to the palate with decadent creaminess to the texture and rich, ripe fruit, finishing long with a pleasant savory character coming through. This is a real hedonist’s wine!

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard

Score: 94

The 2014 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard has a full-on expressive nose of candied ginger, brioche and honey-drizzled peaches with a waft of orange blossoms. Full-bodied, rich and already strutting its stuff, it has a refreshing line of acidity and wonderful length with some minerals coming through.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard

Score: 95

With an intense nose of grapefruit peel, green mangoes and apricots, the 2014 Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard has spicy suggestions of coriander seed and ginger plus a waft of toast. Full-bodied, rich and pleasantly oily, it delivers tons of spice and tropical flavors with epic length.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay Durell Vineyard

Score: 95

The 2014 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard has a relatively subdued/savory nose of baking bread and yeast extract over a core of grapefruit, beeswax and crushed stones. Full-bodied, there is a lot of power and layers on the palate with a wicked backbone of acid cutting through the creamy texture and loads of minerals on the finish.

2014 Kistler Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard

Score: 95

The 2014 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard has a gorgeously intense nose of pineapple paste, honey-nut and guava with touches of cashews and brioche. Medium to full-bodied with a lovely satiny texture, the tropical fruits are open for business with a zippy line of acidity to ensure great cellaring potential.

2014 Kistler Pinot Noir Cuvee Natalie Silver Belt

Score: 95

The Silver Belt Cuvee Natalie Pinot Noir has more Swan clone in it than the Kistler Vineyard wine. Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2014 Pinot Noir Cuvee Natalie Silver Belt has a lovely floral nose with notes of lavender and red roses over a core of raspberry leaves, wild strawberries and forest floor. Medium-bodied, it has a refreshing line of acid and wonderfully ripe, silky tannins supporting the intense, perfumed red berry flavors, finishing with an herbal lift

2014 Kistler Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard

Score: 94

The Kistler Vineyard Pinot Noir is produced mainly from Calera clone with some Swan clone contribution. Pale to medium ruby-colored, the 2014 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard has a beautiful earthy nose of tree bark, underbrush and black soil over a core of cranberries and red currants plus a hint of Provence herbs. Medium-bodied and elegantly fruited in the mouth, the delicate red berry and earth flavors are well-supported by fine, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long.