"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.
Kistler Vineyards remains one of the absolute benchmark producers of great Sonoma Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, sitting right up there with the highest quality examples of these grapes from throughout the world. While the wines come from as wide a range of top terroirs as Sonoma can provide, interestingly nearly all of the Chardonnays are produced from a proprietary selection of Wente clones taken from a Larry Hyde block in the early 1980s. The exception is the Kistler Vineyard, which contains some original Martin Ray Mount Eden clonal material. This can be found in the straight Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay bottling, as opposed to the Cuvee Cathleen, which is mainly Wente selection. All the vineyard-designate Chardonnays are produced in precisely the same manner, meaning the differences between them are almost exclusively down to the differences in terroir. And as readers will see from my notes, the differences are striking.
Now the bad news – I tasted mainly wines from the 2014 vintage for this report, where, despite it being a drought year, yields were pretty much average. In 2015 and 2016, poor flowering meant that yields were hit dramatically for Kistler, down 25-30% in 2015 and as much as 40% in 2016." (WA)
"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." (VM)
Green-tinged pale yellow. Pungent aromas of lime blossom and almond. A tightly-wound wine boasting great energy and intensity. Finishes tactile and long, with a chalky, mineral character.