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Categorized | California, General

Kongsgaard Update


kong logo gold small%20for%20email Kongsgaard Update

The annual Kongsgaard Wine release begins today. To order online, please click our website link below.


Dear Friends of Kongsgaard Wine,
We are delighted to offer the splendid 2009 wines. This vintage of enormous character is bursting with energy. Back when I was Michelle Rolland’s first California student in the 1980s, he told me “the better the vintage, the earlier you know.” 2009 was such a year – the vibe in the vineyard in early September inspired awe. The spring and summer weather were glorious, the crop was almost magically uniform, and the march toward harvest seemed inexorably bound for glory. We could feel the inevitability of great wines as we harvested the grapes.

We are also excited to tell you that this spring we planted five acres of rootstock next to our winery up on the eastern rim of the Napa Valley. At 2500 feet above sea level, this is one of the highest vineyards in the Napa Valley appellation. At this elevation we are cooler than Napa in the afternoons, but being above the fog, our ripening day begins as soon as the sun comes up. We look over the San Francisco Bay from here and feel its cooling breeze in the afternoons. It is a joy to watch the young vines grow up from the rocky, red volcanic soil as we anticipate the promise of the intense mountain fruit.
Thanks for your interest in Kongsgaard Wine. Please note that we do not hold allocations for individuals, and orders are accepted in the order in which they are received. Please respond quickly, as the wines will sell out. For assistance call 707-226-2190.
John and Maggy Kongsgaard

CHARDONNAY 2009 NAPA VALLEY is grown in the two great Carneros vineyards of Hudson and Hyde vineyards that we have used since our first vintage 15 years ago. The Hyde provides the high notes in the aroma, the musque, as the French colleagues say, and an exciting steeliness for the extra-long finish. The Hudson contributes the stonefruit qualities to the aroma and adds to the plush texture – it gives the velvet its knap. Steven Tanzer nailed it, describing the “energetic aromas of apricot, wild mint, sexy minerality and lime zest.” Robert Parker noted the “classic aromas of white peaches, honeyed apricots and tropical fruit nuance, and expansive, medium to full-bodied palate and a fresh, lively mouth feel and length.” We were honored this year by Eric Asimov of the New York Times, who declared, “Kongsgaard consistently makes the best Chardonnay in California today.” $75/bottle, 1100 cases produced.

THE JUDGE CHARDONNAY 2009 NAPA VALLEY hails entirely from our rocky, shy-bearing hilltop vineyard east of the town of Napa, which John’s grandfather originally intended to use for his stone quarry. The vines have been fighting it out with the rocks in these fields for over 30 years and have found their equilibrium at just over one ton per acre. This incredible vineyard is now completely in the groove, producing its tiny crop of intensely flavorful miniature clusters of golden fruit. Parker found that “the 2009 Judge reveals gorgeous aromas of crushed rock, unbuttered popcorn, white currants and white peaches. Dominated by minerality, this is a pure, full-bodied, beautifully perfumed Chardonnay.” Tanzer found it to be “lush, suave and weightless on the palate, with penetrating citricity and minerality giving it almost electric energy.” This is a stupendous vintage of The Judge. John’s late father, the Judge of the Superior Court in Napa, would be proud. $175/bottle, 400 cases produced.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 NAPA VALLEY is an exciting new animal this year because we have a stellar new vineyard source for our Cabernet/Merlot blend. We are very fortunate to have taken over our neighbor’s Cabernet and Merlot vineyard. This is the vineyard which convinced us of the vineyard potential of our ranch on the eastern rim of the Napa Valley where we now live and make the wine. Planted over 30 years ago by a friend of the Kongsgaard family, John has been involved in looking after this vineyard since 1996. To our delight, it changed ownership in 2008, and we swept in like hawks and secured control of the vineyard with a long-term contract. This vineyard, contiguous to the winery, has some of the same magic as our Judge vineyard – the impoverished soil naturally limits the crop to just over one ton per acre of astonishingly intense fruit. Both Tanzer and Parker admired the new wine in barrel. Tanzer noted “aromas of black cherry, blueberry and graphite lifted by a violet top note. The wine is intensely flavored, tightly wound and downright claret-like in the mouth, with good energy to the tactile flavors of black cherry, licorice, iron, charcoal and mocha. A very refined wine, finishing with suave tannins and superb persistence.” Parker enjoyed the similar qualities, noting “lots of sweet black currant fruit intermixed with chocolate, espresso roast and tobacco leaf interwoven with earthy, loamy soil notes as well as vivid minerality.” $150/bottle, 300 cases produced.

THE FIMASAURUS 2009 NAPA VALLEY is another wine new to our roster. From the same next-door Cabernet/Merlot vineyard described above is the proprietary Bordeaux blend we named The Fimasaurus, after our friend Fima (Yefim) Bronfman, the great classical pianist from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In the winery we have six small fermenters that are named after pianists, and the “Fima” tank in 2009 was the scene of a two-ton Cabernet/Merlot co-fermentation that caught our attention in the first week of its life and we were compelled to keep separate two barrels of this serene wine of majestic proportions, which we found worthy of its powerful namesake. This blend shows the dark grandeur of the Bordeaux spectrum with the intense perfume of black licorice, dark chocolate and old saddle leather in the aroma as the opulent, broad tannins carry the flavors anticipated by the seductive aromas to a profoundly long finish. Imagine Fima playing Beethoven’s Appassionata. $150/bottle, 40 cases produced.

SYRAH 2009 NAPA VALLEY from our volcanic 2.5 acre block of the Hudson vineyard in the Napa Carneros is by all accounts the most magnificent Syrah we have produced so far. All the superb qualities of the 2009 vintage coalesced in this wine. Parker came right out and declared it to be “the finest Syrah I have yet tasted from Kongsgaard. An extraordinary perfume of camphor, truffles, barbecue smoke, roasted meats, violets and scorched earth/burning embers soars from the glass of this dense purple-colored wine. Full-bodied and seamlessly constructed with phenomenal concentration, great richness and a heady, long finish. Drink this profound Syrah over the next decade.” Tanzer was equally enthusiastic. He called it “the essence of Syrah, and an early candidate for my ‘nose of the vintage’ award. Knockout nose combines blueberry, sandalwood, gunflint, brown spices, smoke meat and minerals; smells like a La-La wine from Guigal. The explosive, building finish features perfectly ripe acidity and noble tannins.” Nature is never perfect, but this is very nearly the Syrah of our imagination. $150/bottle, 300 cases produced.

VIOROUS 2010 NAPA VALLEY is made from six rows of Viognier and Roussanne in the middle of the Judge Vineyard. In 2009 we made only four barrels of this elixir. This is the only wine we make with just one year of barrel ageing because we know that the deeply hedonistic quality of this wine is maximized by early bottling. We make this wine exclusively in older barrels, so the wood does not interfere with the ethereal aroma. Parker consistently describes the VioRous as "the best white Rhone Ranger made north of San Francisco." An interesting theme has developed in his reviews of several recent vintages: he likens the VioRous to sexy women. The past four vintages have been described as "Marilyn Monroe in her prime, dressed in a chic Chanel suit," "sexy, full-bodied and hedonistic," "a white wine hussy," and “a gorgeously fruity, pleasure-filled sexbomb.” The 2010 is an exuberant contribution to this tradition of outrageously full-flavored wines. $75/bottle, 80 cases produced.

Thank you,
John and Maggy Kongsgaard

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