Rich and flavorful, this is a big wine that’s also graceful and elegant,
offering an exotic range of honey, pear, fig, butterscotch,
toasty oak, roasted marshmallow and tangerine. Drink now
through 2020. From California.—J.L.
95 Points Wine Spectator
Tor Durell Vineyard, Wente Clone, 2010
Blend: 100% Wente Clone Chardonnay
Production: 150 cases
Release date: February 2012
2010 is like 2009 in that it produced wines of great intensity, nerve, and
character, but it did so in a very different way. Both vintages were cool
ones with long hang time but 2009 started earlier and ended earlier. In
2010, spring was wet and late. Bud break was late, veraison was late,
harvest was late, but thankfully September gave us ideal weather to bring
our fruit in from (Hudson, Durell, Beresini) in superb shape. August was
marked by a significant heat blast that presented another twist. We had
to thin in the field, removing any grapes affected, and then we had to thin
again at the winery. In the end, easily one of our best Chardonnay
vintages - a small but high quality crop.
For several decades Durell Vineyard has been renowned as one of
California’s premier Chardonnay vineyards. I have followed the Kistler
bottlings for over a decade and marveled at the richness and minerality of
each wine. They scream of Durell’s terrior. For California winemakers the
Wente clone is synonymous with small crops and small berries. This
translates to a high skin-to-flesh ratio, which translates into a high
concentration of varietal flavor. The soil in our Durell block is goulding
sandy clay loam. This soil is rich with diatomaceous earth and millions of
years ago was probably a sand bar in the middle of a prehistoric lake.
These Chardonnays were all made in a very traditional Burgundian
fashion. What does that mean? For our Chardonnays we use native yeasts
for primary and malolactic fermentations, we do not fine or filter the
wines. We work hard to bring the most honest and true expressions of the
vineyard to you, with the least amount of additions or subtractions.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes
The nose on the Durell is rich and laden with spiced pears, lemon zest
and white chocolate. On the palate there is tremendous weight and
density and a mid palate that completely coats the mouth with cream,
citrus oil and an almost mineral like firmness on the finish. Though this
is drinking great right now, it should age very well and quite easily for at
least another 3-5 years.
“This is a dazzling set of
wines from Tor Kenward
and his long-time
winemaker Jeff Ames.
Frankly, I could have
spent the entire afternoon
delving further into these
The Wine Advocate