Chardonnay 2016 Kongsgaard Napa Valley offers an exalted combination of richness and focus. It comes on with a big blast of stone fruit and citrus zest and the high notes in the aroma lead you to a delirious array of flavors in the finish. Antonio Galloni called it “A wine of breadth and resonance…shaping up to be a jewel of a wine.” It hales from our long-standing Carneros growers Hudson and Hyde. Like The Judge, this Chardonnay spends 22 months in barrel before bottling and it has developed into a truly delicious mouthful. Perrotti-Brown was right to call it “exuberant.”
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 100 points
Bottled in June 2018, the 2016 Chardonnay The Judge opens a little reticently with slowly unfurling notions of lime leaves, yuzu and freshly squeezed lemons with notes of honeyed white peaches and crème brûlée followed by crushed rocks, lemongrass and praline plus a waft of peach blossoms. Full-bodied with fantastic richness and so many layers, the classic The Judge savoriness comes through in spades in the mid-palate with a seductively silken texture and epically long, mineral and spice-tinged finish.
Vinous - 96 points
The 2016 Chardonnay The Judge is very tightly wound at this stage, which is probably a very good sign for its long term aging prospects. Intense in its phenolics and overall structure, the 2016 is going to need a few years to be at its best. The Judge is often quite obviously opulent, but the 2016 is holding so much back today. Almond, sage, mint and dried flowers open up with time in the glass, but only very reluctantly.
Decanter - 95 points
This has a rich nose of peach, apricot and pineapple, followed by mango, toffee oak and a wave of delicious vanilla. An opulent wine with underlying citrus notes, minerality and fresh acidity. A complex, never-ending finish puts this wine at grand cru level. Jon Kongsgaard makes some of the best Chardonnays in California; their concentration allows them to beautifully handle a full 22 months ageing in new French barrels.