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Best of the Best 2007: Domestic White Wines: Aubert 2004 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Lauren Vineyard

Bett Aderson

Aubert 2004 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Lauren Vineyard

Like a film star renowned for his comedy but whose passion is dramatic work, Sonoma’s King of Chardonnay, winemaker Mark Aubert, has been most often lauded as the genius behind such formidable red wines as the Peter Michael Les Pavots, Sloan Cabernet Sauvignon (a recently introduced cult favorite), and the Colgin Cellars portfolio.

 

His longtime infatuation with the fabled white grape of Burgundy began in earnest when the acknowledged Queen of Chardonnay, Helen Turley, hired him as her assistant at Peter Michael Winery. The richly articulated flavors and complex aromas of Turley’s Chardonnays set an exceptionally high bar for Aubert’s own efforts when—after Turley left to make wines for Colgin Cellars, as well as for Marcassin, her own label—he took over as winemaker at Peter Michael.

Since the launch of his own label with the introduction of his 2000 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay, Aubert’s first love has taken center stage with collectors and critics alike. Although Aubert makes Pinot Noir from the UV Vineyard (owned by Ulises Valdez, his vineyard manager), the reputation of his label rests on his whites, which combine satiny, thick texture with lush fruit and vibrant mineral. Of the four Chardonnay vineyards currently in the Aubert portfolio, only the Lauren Vineyard (named for his daughter) belongs to him and his wife, Teresa, alone. It is also, in our opinion, the most luminous in the 2004 vintage, displaying a magnificent misty gold color and a texture like pale yellow satin. The fruit—pear, apricot, white peach—is layered atop a creamy custard, which dissolves on the long finish to a bright pinpoint of acidity. A crown jewel, indeed.

Aubert, www.aubertwines.com ($70)

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