Wine Advocate Issue 228
Our first perfect score from Robert Parker
Pahlmeyer's 2013 Chardonnay is gorgeous and the Russian River fruit speaks with notable eloquence. Orange blossom, butter, new French oak, apricot pit, mint and spice notes abound. The 2013 is quite extroverted in style, but less overt than in years past. The new Francois Freres barrels are evident but also very nicely integrated.
Lemon, almonds, spices, butter and French oak blossom effortlessly in the glass. A creamy, voluptuous, full-bodied Chardonnay, the 2012 boasts superb depth and volume all the way through to the oily, textured finish. Here, the heavy toast barrels are in evidence, but the wine seems to have more than enough stuffing to handle the oak. I can't wait to see how the 2012 ages.
The 2011 Chardonnay emerges from the glass with honey, butter lemon oil, nectarines, mint and passion fruit, all supported by generous yet well-balanced French oak. A voluptuous wine for the year, the 2011 Chardonnay boasts impeccable balance and plenty of creaminess. It will appeal most to readers who appreciate bold, rich Chardonnays.
A tour de force, with layers of rich, smoky oak, fig, honeydew melon and baked, glazed apple, this weaves together a broad range of flavors, yet for all its size remains elegant and delicate. A roasted marshmallow aftertaste marks the finish.
The 2008 Chardonnay reveals a greenish hue to its medium straw color as well as a super-intense nose of mandarin oranges, quince, white peaches, and hints of brioche and earth. Full-bodied with good underlying minerality, this crisp, elegant, fresh white wine is another superb effort from a winery that has a Midas touch with Chardonnay.
For starters, the 2007 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast may be one of Pahlmeyer’s finest Chardonnays to date. This cuvee is fashioned from the old Wente and Mt. Eden clones. Like the finest California Chardonnays, it reveals a light greenish hue to its straw color in addition to a beautiful perfume of nectarines, brioche, subtle smoke, crushed rocks, and gobs of white peach and pineapple fruit.
The 2006 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, all made from old Wente clones, is a sensational Burgundian style Chardonnay with leesy notes of brioche, nectarine, honeysuckle, orange rind, and some pear and pineapple. Beautiful fruit, full body, great acidity, and a textured mouthfeel make this a sensational Chardonnay.
The 2005 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast exhibits wonderful tropical fruit notes interwoven with pineapple, buttered citrus, and leesy, brioche-like characteristics. This complex effort is capable of lasting for 7-8 years.
The 2004 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is produced from the old Wente clone planted in the Ritchie Vineyard, which is certainly turning out to be a fabulous grand cru site whether the wine is made by Pahlmeyer, Marc Aubert, or others. Displaying plenty of orange rind, buttered pineapple, and leesy brioche notes, it is a seductive, sexy, full-bodied, heady wine with tremendous richness as well as good underlying acidity. Like so many Sonoma Coast Chardonnays, it reveals a greenish hue to the light gold/straw color, which usually signifies a potentially long life.
The 2003 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast (basically made from an old Wente Chardonnay clone of 30-year-old vines planted in the Ritchie Vineyard) is great stuff. A full-bodied, honeyed nose of pastry, lemon butter, and orange marmalade is followed by a wine with wonderful stuffing, richness, texture, full body, and a Burgundy-like minerality.
A rich, opulent, superripe style with a flash of heat that robs it of a bit of finesse, but there's no shortage of flavor packed into this wine, with layers of ripe fig, cedar and apricot, finishing with a dash of toasty oak.
The spectacular 2001 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast exhibits a medium light gold color with a greenish hue. It boasts a big, orange blossom, citrus oil, lanolin, and candied tropical fruit-scented perfume along with good underlying acidity, and a hint of minerality.