2017 Kutch, Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast.
This intensely energetic wine by Jamie Kutch is sourced from Bohan Vineyard, a unique 47-year-old site with old clones, which is on the Sonoma Coast, making for a studied mix of a cool climate site, maturity of the plants and wonderfully ripe vintage that led to a seriously delicious Chardonnay. Made with old school traditional artisans methods with the goal to achieve Burgundian finesse and mineral driven charm, the 2017 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast shows what these older own rooted and sustainable vines on the extreme Sonoma Coast can do with vivid acidity, low alcohol and a less oaky profile, while still being wonderfully expressive and ultra serious. Planted in 1972, the Bohan Vineyard sits just about three miles from the cold Pacific Ocean and set on sandstone and Goldridge soils at nearly 1,400 feet above sea level, which helps with fog clearing and getting good exposure, this is a special site as evidenced here in this beautifully detailed and chiseled Chardonnay. In the winery, Kutch is meticulous and gentle in his handling of the grapes and the wine is only moved with gravity flow and he uses mainly neutral wood the preserve the freshness and the vineyard’s individual characteristics or personality, these are wines that are best enjoyed with food, with this one shining with fleshy white fish, shellfish and or a fine triple cream (soft) cheese.

Jamie Kutch, who also makes riveting whole cluster and cool climate Pinot Noirs, is gifted with the touch for Chardonnay and I really loved his Trout Gulch version, that wonderful vineyard farmed by my friend Richard Alfaro in the Santa Cruz Mountains, so it was exciting to try his Sonoma Coast bottling and it didn’t disappoint with its purity and vitality, while still giving a sense of richness and textural pleasure. Kutch’s style is all about balance and retaining acidity, so finding these extreme vineyard sites are paramount to his achieving his winemaking goals, which shows in the transparency and crisp of his wines. This 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay starts lively and citrusy with preserved lemon and white peach starting things off on the palate which gains depth and leesy toastiness with each sip, adding classic pear and apple fruits to the medium bodied palate along with a bracing (saline) sea breeze, a subtle wood note from the used French barrels, clove spice, soft verbena and a touch of honeysuckle. With air in the glass, this pale gold Kutch Chard builds mouth feel and lingers luxuriously, this is tasty stuff that offers a great value, I can’t wait to try the 2018 and 2019s, which should be even better! There’s a lot to be excited about in California Chardonnay these days with small producers like Ceritas, Samuel Louis Smith, Arnot-Roberts, Drew, Scar of the Sea and Kutch, to name a few, all doing thrilling stuff this year.
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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