Chardonnay, Klopp Vineyard by LaRue | 2018
It's impossible to replicate the nuances of a fine white Burgundy, but Katy Wilson of LaRue gets pretty darn close. Launched just over a decade ago, Katy sources the best of the best grapes from Sonoma's most coveted vineyards. Her elegant style of Pinots put her on the map, popping-up on the "who's who" of restaurant wine lists from San Francisco to New York, but it's her Chardonnay that shows-off her magnificent touch in the cellar.
Ted Klopp is one of Sonoma's greatest grape growers. In the early 1980s he planted Pinot Noir in the Klopp Ranch (in Russian River Valley) under the guidance of the "Pinot Queen," Ms. Merry Edwards. The Klopp Vineyard, though, has nothing to do with Russian River. Located in the much cooler Sebastopol hills of the Sonoma Coast, it's a new project from Ted and his daughter Lauren. And this generation's grape guider? It's Katy Wilson (and Ross Cobb of Cobb Wines). 2018 is only the second vintage of Klopp Vineyard, but it was a stellar year for Chardonnay (cool and foggy with a long and slow grape maturation). It's not only a breakout year for Klopp, it's a breakout year for Wilson, Sonoma County farmers, and the evolution of American Chardonnay.
As a lover of Pinot, I was familiar with Katy's reds, but not her whites. Then, last summer a harmless accident hooked me for life. I forgot to seal my bottle of Klopp Chardonnay and left it in my fridge over the weekend. When I poured myself a taste on Monday I was blown away by the wine's vibrancy, its nutty Meursault-like edge, pops of Meyer lemon, and cracks of crème brûlée. It's like I was drinking a very expensive Burgundy, but I wasn't... or was I? Only the queen knows.