95 Points - Wine Spectator #9 Wine of the Year
Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015
Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015
Our first perfect score from Robert Parker
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This is a fantastic young chardonnay with crushed-stone, dried apple and pear and light vanilla-bean character. It’s full-bodied, but very tight with firmness and energy at the end. The cement and stone character is intense on the finish, giving spiciness to the fruit. Drink or hold.
A tank sample to be bottled in December, the 2018 Chardonnay springs from the glass with vivacious pink grapefruit, white peach and lemon tart scents with touches of fresh ginger, orange blossoms, beeswax and shaved almonds. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers super-intense citrus flavors with loads of savory sparks and a satiny texture, finishing on a lingering ginger nut note.
Notes of white flowers, white peach, tangerine, flower oil, and white flowers. It's rich, layered, so pure and balanced, and is just a class act as well as one of the top Chardonnays in this report.
The 2016 Chardonnay has a lovely savory, yeasty/toasty nose over a core of warm grapefruit, fresh apricots and allspice with a touch of candied ginger. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers mouth-filling stone fruit and spicy layers, supported by great freshness and finishing long and creamy.
A gorgeous mouthful of rich, buttery Chardonnay, loaded with exotic tropical fruit, pear, melon and pineapple flavors. Impresively opulent and silky. Drink now through 2022. From California.—J.L.
The 2014 Chardonnay is light gold-colored with a greenish hue and beautiful, fresh tropical fruit flavors of pineapple, pear, honeysuckle and a touch of citrus. It is not as dense and concentrated as the 2013, but I love its vibrancy and beautiful subtleties and nuances. It is another top-notch effort from Pahlmeyer to drink over the next 7-8 years.
The 2013 Chardonnay Napa displays beautiful honeysuckle, lemon oil, and hints of nectarine and poached pear, and has a Burgundian, Bâtard-Montrachet-like texture and richness. The wine is sensationally rich and once again a great success from this winery, which has had such an incredible track record for world-class Chardonnays. This should drink well for another 5-7 years, as their record for aging is brilliant.
Pahlmeyer’s spectacular 2012 Chardonnay offers abundant aromas of hazelnuts, buttered citrus, tropical fruits and honeysuckle intermixed with a touch of tangerine oil. It cuts a full-bodied swath across the palate, and possesses good acidity, exuberant fruit and an undeniably sexy style. Enjoy this terrific All-American, All-Napa Valley Chardonnay over the next 4-5 years. Bravo!
The 2011 Chardonnay is gorgeous. Layers of lemon pastry, juicy peaches, butter and spices take shape in the glass. The 2011 is a bit restrained for Pahlmeyer, but all the elements are very nicely woven together. There is plenty of varietal character and house style, but in a slightly more reserved way than readers have become accustomed to over the years, mostly because of the cool growing season. This is a beautiful and classy wine through and through.
The 2010 Chardonnay is a gorgeous wine laced with expressive varietal fruit, smoke, butter, minerals and French oak. This is a fairly restrained style, yet all of the elements are in perfect balance. A long, subtle finish rounds things out very nicely.
Consistently one of the top Chardonnays in California, Pahlmeyer’s 2009 exhibits an impressive, thick-looking, light gold color with green hues. Loads of peach, creme brulee, honeysuckle, and subtle oak are present in this full-bodied, well-endowed, pedal-to-the-metal style of Chardonnay that will appeal to those who like white Burgundy, but with additional richness. Given its track record, expect this wine to age nicely.
The 2008 Chardonnay is one of the finest Chardonnays of the vintage. Beautiful aromas of honeysuckle, brioche, white peaches, orange marmalade, and citrus blossoms soar from the glass of this light gold/green-hued wine. A terrific texture, full-bodied mouthfeel, and hints of hazelnuts as well as honey give this cuvee lots of flesh, depth, and richness.
Ever since Demi Moore tried to seduce Michael Douglas in the blockbuster movie “Disclosure,” Pahlmeyer’s Chardonnay has been a hot ticket. What might get lost in the glare of Hollywood is that the wine is superb. The 2006 Chardonnay is just as good. Slightly fuller-bodied, with zesty acidity and fabulous notes of brioche, quince, and again some leesiness, the wine has a nice greenish hue to the light gold color, subtle smoke, and a dense, rich mouthfeel.
The 2005 Chardonnay Napa, which reveals a light gold/green color along with scents of nectarines, quince, orange marmalade, brioche, and a leesy element. It possesses terrific acidity, not quite the complexity or mouthfeel of the Sonoma Coast offering, but a big, bold, smoky style.
The 2003 Chardonnay Napa reveals a Corton-Charlemagne-like earthiness and minerality, perhaps less fat and flesh than the Sonoma Coast bottling, but a full-bodied, rich personality. Aromas and flavors of pineapples, citrus oil, hazelnuts, and crushed rock/mineral-like characteristics are found in this long, defined Chardonnay.
Explosive aromas of pear, clove, honey, caramel and minerals. Fat, sweet and deep; thicker and a bit more complex than the Sonoma Coast offering, with intriguing notes of fresh herbs and minerals. Nicely integrated acids give shape to this very dense, layered chardonnay. Finishes with notes of caramel and spicy oak. These chardonnays were fermented in mostly new Francois Freres barrels, then aged in all new oak.
The 2001 Chardonnay is an opulent, full-throttle effort revealing an explosive bouquet of honeysuckle, pineapple, and citrus oils. It possesses great purity, tremendous richness, and a lusty, heady finish.
Notably rich and concentrated, with layers of earthy pear, fig, apricot and nectarine, and touches of toasty oak that are at the same time deep and complex, and elegant and refined. Long, complex finish keeps pumping out the flavors.
The 1998 Chardonnay is on a fast evolutionary track. Light gold-colored, with a ripe apricot, butterscotch, and smoky nose, this full-bodied Chardonnay reveals evidence of botrytis (honeyed, funky notes), huge body, and leesy, ripe flavors that caress the palate.
Ultrarich and ultraripe Chardonnay. A creamy, seamless wine, with sharply focused, deeply concentrated peach, pear and nectarine flavors. Turns even more complex on the finish, where pretty, toasty vanilla notes folds in. Drink now through 2004.
The awesome 1996 Chardonnay is one of the finest made at Pahlmeyer. A massive yet remarkably well-balanced example, it boasts a leesy complexity, rich, honeysuckle, buttered citrus, and roasted hazelnut characteristics. Since it was bottled unfiltered, it is throwing some sediment, so don't have a coronary if you see what professionals call "floaters." The wine's spectacular length and richness suggest another 4-5 years of longevity. This is undoubtedly one of the 1996 vintage's superstar Chardonnays.
Pahlmeyer's 1995 Chardonnay appears to be a return to the style of the 1993. This unfiltered gem offers up fabulously sweet, ripe, honeyed pineapple and citrusy fruit aromas, intermingled with hazelnut and toasty oak scents. The wine is extremely full-bodied and rich, with a layered texture, outstanding purity, and a lusty finish. This superb California Chardonnay should drink well for 5-6 years.
The unfiltered 1993 Chardonnay is a sensational effort from Jayson Pahlmeyer. Pahlmeyer, like several other California producers, has fashioned a riveting Chardonnay that could easily pass for a great Burgundy grand cru from the likes of Coche-Dury or Michel Niellon. It does not possess the most polished color, but who cares given the aromatic and flavor intensity and dimensions. Gorgeous aromas, from honey to acacia flowers to ripe apples and oranges, soar from the glass. Full-bodied, and extremely lively and rich with stunning layers of pure fruit, subtle oak, and decent acidity, this is a winemaking tour de force! If I did not know better, I would think I was drinking a 1990 Corton-Charlemagne from Jean-Francois Coche-Dury - at $150 a bottle! This exquisite California Chardonnay should last for 3-4 years. Where are you Demi?
Pahlmeyer's 1992 Chardonnay is not lacking personality, richness, or character. Loaded with opulent, chewy Chardonnay fruit, it is pure, well-balanced, and delicious and satisfying despite the wood's aggressiveness.
Wonderful richness, depth and complexity, jam-packed with flavor, with tiers of pear, spice, apple and pineapple framed by smoky, toasty oak nuances that fold together into a tight, youthful and vibrant wine. Delicious now, but a good bet to gain through 1996.