2013 J. Rochioli, Chardonnay, River Block, Russian River Valley.
As my Chardonnay review week ends, it goes out with a bang, with this amazing and explosive Russian River Valley wine! Crazy concentrated, but finally opening up, the flamboyant River Block Chardonnay from Rochioli is a thrilling full bodied wine that starts off like a white Hermitage (Roussanne/Marsanne)! Seriously, I was amazed to see the River Block size right up to Chave, Chapoutier Le Meal and Guigal’s Ex-Voto Ermitage with hints of white flowers, smoke and bacon fat in this voluminous Chardonnay that goes on the fill out with rich fruit, sweet oak and lush textural sensuality leaning on baked apple, lemon curd, apricot, hazelnut, butterscotch, spicy clove and vanilla. There is a surprisingly nice cut of acidity that adds lift and vibrancy to what otherwise feels like a massive and dense wine from this famed Russian River producer, as a long time fan and still on their mailing list I find these wine gain so much with extra time in the bottle, certainly this 2013 is turning out much better than I had presumed would be the case for this awkward vintage. This is a lavish and opulent Chardonnay, and it does not try to hide that fact, but it still delivers a wonderful performance that showcases this winery’s pedigree and while a big Chard it’s has plenty life and grace to appease many a top Burgundy lover, but more like Batard than Chablis! Lingering pear tart and creme brûlée add to the hedonistic pleasures in this River Block, though I thoroughly enjoy the the vein of bright tangerine, stony notes and honeysuckle, this wine perks up just enough too not feel cloying, impressive in layers and detail from start to finish. I imagine this luxurious and exotic (with it’s Hermitage Blanc like intensity and almost oily mouth feel) Rochioli River Block to have a solid future, especially if you pair it with lobster, at least another 5 years to peak, not an easy get, but worth it if offered!
($80-100 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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