2005 Kistler Durell Vineyard
Vintage: 2005 Durell Vineyard
Region: Napa Valley
Kistler Vineyards is a wine producer in northern California's Sonoma County. Its considerable reputation is thanks largely to its robust, buttery Chardonnay wines, which have established Kistler as a cult winery since the 1980s.
The company was founded in 1978 by Steve Kistler and remains a family-owned and operated winery. It is a relatively small producer, making just 35,000 cases annually, much of which is sold through its significant mailing list.
Kistler's focus is the Burgundy varieties, making 10 vineyard-designated Chardonnay wines and four designated Pinot Noir wines. The fruit comes from three AVAs within Sonoma: Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain and Carneros (which overlaps with the Napa Valley AVA).
Kistler is seen as one of the pioneers of the buttery, fruit-driven Chardonnays that have come to be closely associated with California. In the winery, the use of small, new-oak barriques and malolactic fermentation have been used over the years to achieve this style of wine.
Recent trends have seen a move away from this style, however, and Kistler is beginning to experiment with making more restrained styles of the variety.
California is the heartland of wine production in the US, and the state that brought prestige to American wine thanks to the pioneers who built early wineries like Staglin, Beringer, Ridge, Mayacamas and Chateau Montelena in the 1800s. Its large geographic area ensures a great diversity in growing sites, varieties grown, and quality levels. Generalizations about the state's wines have numerous exceptions; however, a few key facts generally hold true—ample sunshine, dry weather during the growing season, and moderate winters prevail. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon continue to dominate the state's production—albeit in continually smaller percentages, as growers continue to diversify. More than 100 different varieties can be found throughout the state
Kistler Vineyards is a small family-owned winery located in the Russian River Valley specializing in Burgundian style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Since its first vintage in 1979, the winery has grown in size to produce 25,000 cases per year. Steve Kistler and Mark Bixler share the winemaking responsibilities, while Mark also acts as chemist and business manager. The winery, completed in 1992, is located on their Vine Hill Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Kistler's fruit is sourced from various vineyards across Napa and Sonoma counties.
Wine Advocate | Rating: 96
From a Sonoma Coast vineyard, the 2005 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard reveals extremely uplifted aromatics displaying hints of wet stones, white currants, flowers, peaches, and subtle tropical fruits. Full-bodied, intense, and tightly-knit, it should drink well for 7-8 years. Kistler Vineyards, undeniably one of the world's finest winemaking estates, is run with passionate dedication to detail and quality by Steve Kistler and Mark Bixler. It is wines like these that keep an old critic like me inspired and energized.
Author: Robert Parker