2017 Kistler Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard

Year: 2017
Appellation: Sonoma Mountain
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 95
Vinous Media: 95
Jeb Dunnuck: 96
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.2%
Price :
Sorry, this product is not currently for sale.


"The McCrea vineyard has two unique sets of soils: half the vineyard is old marine sediment uplift and the other half is red volcanic soil. The 2017 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard has an open nose of quince peel, baked Golden Delicious apple, toast, warm hay and toasted almonds with dried acacia, river stone and lime peel hints over a core of warm white peach. Medium-bodied, it's fully fruited and giving in the mouth, broad and juicy, with tropical touches coming through on the long, textured and energetic finish.

2017 was a lovely vintage at Kistler. Winemaker Jason Kesner says that beginning in 2016, “our focus shifted—more toward natural pHs and less on sugars. We maintained that approach in 2017.” He goes on to explain, “It was a relatively moderate season. We had mixed conditions during bloom, which led to low crops, but we have low crops anyway. The biggest challenge was that Labor Day heat. If we didn’t have the heat, I think we would have finished up four to five days later than we did. But we made the decision to pick as opposed to letting fruit sit through the heat. We started harvesting eight days before the heat and finished picking the Sunday before Labor Day. It was 117 degrees on the crush pad the last day we harvested. We did several 21-hour days to get it all in.”

Stylistically, “It’s a tale of two vintages for me, potentially,” Kesner says. “I’d be surprised if the wines harvested after the heat aren’t a different set of wines than those that came in before the heat. The real challenge was fitting in four to five days of work in two days. It left a memory, let me put it that way. Stylistically, the 2017s are an interesting marriage between the 2015s and the 2016s. There’s a richness, a beautiful, light layer of fat woven through the wines—a gloss, or marbling if you will, with that energy and verve of the 2016s from our focus on pHs.”

The original Kistler vineyard, now 40 years old, is slowly being replanted vine by vine instead of being torn out entirely. “We could replant the whole vineyard, but I chose not to,” Kesner says. “Instead, we are going between each of the old vines, off-setting the spacing and plugging in St. George rootstock. Each of the rootstocks will be budded from its neighboring vine, so eventually we will replicate the heritage selection we already have. It will be a duplicate of the vineyard and will allow us to let those old vines bow out gracefully over the next 40 years. It helps me sleep—I feel like we’re doing the right thing. I want to make these moves now in a respectful, reverential way, so that the original vision of this place continues on for another 40 years. Thirty years from now, we will be talking about the average age of the vines, not the average age of the vineyard.” " (WA)

"The 2017 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard is superb. Sensual, silky and nuanced, the McCrea is especially fine in 2017. The typical earthy, savory notes that are such signatures of this Sonoma Mountain site are present, but the 2017 also has an extra kick of fruit richness and floral lift that work beautifully in giving the wine an unusual level of complexity. The 2017 McCrea is brilliant and a terrific way to start this tasting." (VM)

"Coming from marine sediments and volcanic soils on Sonoma Mountain, the 2017 Chardonnay McCrea offers a brilliant, white flower and orchard fruit-driven profile that slowly shows more brioche and honeysuckle with time in the glass. It’s beautifully textured, with good acidity and a great finish. Drink this complete, impeccably balanced Chardonnay over the coming decade or more." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Green-tinged pale yellow. Lifted, nuanced aromas of stone fruits, morning citrus flowers, fresh herbs and hints of chalk. Concentrated and intensely flavored with excellent weight, yet supported throughout by a string of brisk acidity that carries the finish which seems to have no end. A lovely example of the best soils at our McCrea vineyard.