Vintage Notes

Dear Friends of Kongsgaard Wine,
2014 is another superb Kongsgaard vintage following the impressive 2012 and 2013. After a dry winter, early bud-break and warm spring, the harvest was the earliest in our 40 vintages of winemaking in Napa. The critical summer weather was perfect, and the wines were born with big, energetic personalities, which have been refined to a suave perfection with barrel aging. We are sure you will enjoy them as much as Robert Parker did when he said: “With the 2014s looking superb at the time of my visit, Kongsgaard is overflowing with liquid treasures.”
John, Maggy and Alex Kongsgaard

The Judge 2014 Kongsgaard Napa Valleyshows the power and refinement that is the hallmark of our famously rocky, shy-bearing vineyard on the old family land.  We love the purity of its stony aroma and magnificent length.  The first impression forms around the mineral core and the brilliant mouth-watering acidity.  From here, the intensely concentrated character appears subtly on the horizon – look for peach, marzipan, citrus, and honeysuckle.  This grandeur is only possible from vines grown in shy-producing, mineral rich soil.  Robert Parker called it “a Tour de Force” and scored it from barrel 96-100 – quite a tribute to our special Judge Vineyard following the 100 point 2013.  We are thanking the fates that forty years ago Andre Tchelistcheff advised us to plant Chardonnay on our rock pile.  372 cases produced.

Chardonnay 2014 Kongsgaard Napa Valleyhas a profoundly intense aroma of citrus zest, peach, and minerals.  Barrel fermented and aged for 20 months before bottling, it fills your mouth with a grand impression, balancing tannin with fruit and acidity.  The flinty aroma we love in white Burgundy is unmistakable here.  Galloni described it as “incredibly vivid and translucent,” and Parker called it our “Batard Montrachet.”  This year we celebrate 20 years of collaboration with our exceptional Carneros farming partners, Lee Hudson and Larry Hyde, whose famous Wente clones have been the signature of our Napa Valley Chardonnay since our first vintage in 1996.  1990 cases produced.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Kongsgaard Napa Valleyreflects our Bordeaux inspiration, which goes back to John and Maggy’s first trip to that hallowed ground 37 years ago. The low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc we grow on the eastern rim of the valley is lavishly layered with an uncanny array of flavors. The extravagant richness cloaks the tannin in a way that will allow the early enjoyment of this profound wine, but this big Cabernet will certainly have a long interesting life in the bottle. Antonio Galloni describes it “racing across the palate with a host of dark stone fruit, sage, licorice, graphite and crushed rocks. The power, intensity and drive are dazzling.” Parker considers it a kind of winemaker self-portrait: “It is a big, full-bodied wine that in many ways could be considered the vinous equivalent of John Kongsgaard himself.” 320 cases produced.

The Fimasaurus 2014 Kongsgaard Napa Valleylives up to its namesake, the great Russian pianist, Yefim (“Fima”) Bronfman, as an example of the juxtaposition of sheer power and delicate nuance. As we nurtured this wine while it came of age in the barrel, its richness and length were impressive at every stage. Now, as The Fimasaurus embarks on its life in bottle, that powerful finish with its fine-grain tannin will support the immense rich middle of the wine. Galloni noted, “The Fimasaurus is all about structure and feel.” This grand wine comes from our gnarliest Merlot and Cabernet vines and is co-fermented to bring the sweetness of the Merlot to blend imperceptibly with the pure energy of the Cabernet. Chocolate, saddle leather and anise pervade the aroma, preparing you for the sheer pleasure of the wine’s density on the palate. 70 cases produced.

Syrah 2014 Kongsgaard Napa Valleyis another glorious milestone in our long Syrah history. We could see in the fermenter that the 2014 was destined to become a wild and intense wine. The sheer volume of savory aroma and flavor we experienced while doing the pump-overs in the first week of this wine’s life was truly astonishing. Galloni called it “soaring and majestic,” and noted “power and finesse have rarely coexisted with this level of pure effortless grace.” This year we presented Stephen Tanzer a vertical tasting from 1998 to 2013 and he concluded that our Syrah is “arguably California’s greatest single Syrah bottling.” Parker wrote that the 2014 “smells like walking into a French butcher shop with all kinds of charcuterie hanging from the ceiling. If that doesn’t turn you on, I don’t know what will.” 288 cases produced.

VioRous 2015 Kongsgaard Napa Valleydisplays the usual extravagant blend of peach and spring flower aromas with an almost bizarre level of fresh stone fruit flavors. At Chez Panisse in the summer, they offer a signature desert, “The Perfect Bowl of Fruit.” Our VioRous may be the enological equivalent. With slightly more Viognier than Roussanne, you might imagine Condrieu’s aroma of apricot and honeycomb followed by the earthy Roussanne qualities of the great whites from Hermitage. This wine hails from a few rows of each variety in the middle of The Judge vineyard and a small plot next to the winery up on our mountain. The minuscule production causes us to limit the offering to one bottle per customer. One case each year goes to a restaurant somewhere in the world. It has appeared in New York, Stockholm, Tokyo, and this year the restaurant case goes to Nepenthe in Big Sur, California. 40 cases produced.

Albariño 2015 Kongsgaard Napa Valleyhas alluring aromas of white flowers, crushed rock, and lime zest.  Its bracing and textured finish is supported by mouthwatering acidity.  The Albariño is grown on a steep, rocky, bay-facing 3/4 acre in Carneros and is fermented in very old oak barrels and bottled after nine months on the lees.  No critics have tasted the just-bottled Albariño, but we can report that Robert Parker proclaimed our 2013 Albariño to be “the finest Albariño I have tasted from California,” and Antonio Galloni hailed it to be “in a class of its own.”  It will be available only in New York and California restaurants.  68 cases produced.

KINGS FARMwines are the “little brothers and sisters” of the Kongsgaard wines and are occasionally bottled in small quantities and are offered to our mailing list customers in a special spring offering.  Learn More

Kings Farm Red Wine 2014 Napa Valley is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which expresses the opulence of the 2014 vintage. Aromas of blackberry, violets, and graphite lead you to the supple tannins and a bright, fruit finish.  The 2014 Kings Farm Red enjoyed 22 months in new French barrels and has been in the bottle for nine months.  It is now ready to grace your table.

Kongsgaard Vineyard