Jeb Dunnuck’s Vertical Tasting of Pisoni Estate Chardonnay

Chardonnay grapes in the Pisoni Vineyards
Chardonnay at Pisoni Estate Vineyards

It is with great pride that we share recent reviews from Jeb Dunnuck’s vertical tasting of our entire Pisoni Estate Chardonnay portfolio. Of our estate label, Dunnuck writes, “up until this tasting, I was convinced focused exclusively on a single Pinot Noir from the Pisoni Vineyard.” Because each vintage is, as he notes, “made in such tiny quantities,” it rarely sees its way to a critics’ desk. Formerly of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jeb Dunnuck’s reviews offer a comprehensive overview of our Pisoni Estate Chardonnay, and are featured on his new website Our Pisoni Estate Chardonnay captures the intensity of our rocky and mountain soil, with a vibrancy that is indicative of our cool climate. As Dunnuck’s drinking windows suggest, minimal-style winemaking is practices to support long-term cellaring.

The first vintage for this cuvee, the 2010 Chardonnay is still light yellow in color and possesses sensational notes of buttered lemons, flowers, and exotic tropical fruits, with hints of brioche and caramelized fruits. Rich, concentrated, yet still light on its feet, it’s a killer Chardonnay that has tons of life! Hats off to the Pisoni family for these incredible, age-worthy Chardonnays!

Maturity: 2015-2025

The 2011 Chardonnay is also brilliant, with a Meursault-like richness and nuttiness. Apple, brioche, buttered stone fruits, toasted nuts and honeycomb emerge from this elegant, classic and mineral-laced chardonnay. It beautiful now, yet has plenty of life. There’s 110 cases made.

Maturity: 2017-2026

The 98-case 2012 Chardonnay is another big, rich, unctuous beauty. Buttered pineapple, sautéed stone fruits, and honeycomb show in this sexy, layered Chardonnay that has terrific purity, nicely integrated acidity and a great finish. Despite its concentration and richness, it has purity and tension, and will have a decade or more of longevity.

Maturity: 2017-2027

The 2013 Chardonnay is a blockbuster. Gorgeous aromatics of stone fruits, honeysuckle, buttered pineapple and hints of white flowers all flow to a rich, viscous, full-bodied wine that’s the greatest Chardonnay I’ve tasted from the Santa Lucia Highlands (and is easily up with the best of California). With sensational minerality, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, bright acidity and a great finish, give bottles a year or two and enjoy through 2028.

Maturity: 2017-2028

The 2014 Chardonnay is fleshier and more forward than either the 2015 or 2013. It offers lots of white peach, pineapple, white flowers and buttered citrus aromas and flavors. With medium to full-bodied richness and a supple, forward, delicious style, it’s going to be hard to resist over the coming 4-6 years.

Maturity: 2017-2023

Coming from 4 to 5 individual blocks, the Pisoni Vineyard and half Wente and half suitcase clones (which are a mix of Montrachet clones and a selection from Soberanes), the 2015 Chardonnay is another beautiful white from this team. Stone fruits, hints of buttered peach, honeycomb and plenty of charcoal-like minerality give way to gorgeous, elegant, seamless chardonnay that has terrific length. This is a seriously impressive Chardonnay that’s going to benefit from short term cellaring and drink well for over a decade. This was bottled in January.

Maturity: 2019-2029

To download a PDF version, please click here.