2021 Pahlmeyer Winery Chardonnay Napa

Chardonnay - 750ML
Reg: $119.94
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JS 98 WA 95 WS 94
JS 98

jamessuckling.com, March 2023

Sliced cooked apples with biscuit and pie crust undertones, as well as hints of spices with some salted caramel. Hints of apricot. Full-bodied with a firmness and depth. Creamy-textured phenolics and great length. One of...
WA 95

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, May 2023

The price has almost quintupled since the 1991 played an instrumental role in the film "Disclosure" (1994; Michael Douglas, Demi Moore), but Pahlmeyer's 2021 Chardonnay remains a stunningly seductive wine. All barrel...
WS 94

Wine Spectator, May 2023

Packs an exotic note of litsea oil and a hint of flint, which becomes a smoky grace note for the core of ripe pear, lemon sherbet, makrut lime leaf, sweet grass, salted caramel and toffee. Reveals honeysuckle elements...


Color & Type White
Varietal Chardonnay
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region North Coast
Appellation Napa
Vintage 2021
Size 750ML
Percent alcohol 14.5%
Closure Cork

Pahlmeyer was born out Jayson Pahlmeyer’s audacious dream of creating a “California Mouton”. A successful trial attorney, he had an insatiable thirst for adventure and a hypnotic captivation with wine. Following his dream, Jayson partnered with John Caldwell, owner of a 55-acre site in south-east Napa Valley. Together, they began planting the finest French clones of red Bordeaux varieties.

After months of sleuthing in elite French vineyards, and years of seeking assistance from viticultural professors at the University of Bordeaux who analyzed the soil samples, exposure, rainfall and temperature data, Jayson and his partner were able to acquire Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec vines with the greatest intensity, depth of flavor and character and proceeded to smuggle their “suitcase clones” to the U.S. through Canada.

Planted in 1981, the French cuttings slowly adjusted. In 1986, with the help of Randy Dunn, one of California’s foremost winemakers, the Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red was made and launched Pahlmeyer’s astonishing track record of critical acclaim.

In 1989, Jayson invited rising star winemaker Bob Levy to produce the first vintages of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay and the 1991 Chardonnay sold out immediately.

In 1993, Helen Turley took the winemaking reins and further improved the quality and consistency of Pahlmeyer wines. She was instrumental in finding Waters Ranch – Pahlmeyer’s high-elevation Napa Valley estate vineyard planted to red Bordeaux varieties and Chardonnay - and Wayfarer, the winery’s isolated estate vineyard in the newly established Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. Waters Ranch and Wayfarer estate vineyards were planted by viticulture legend David Abreu in 1998 and 2002, respectively.

Jayson’s daughter Cleo joined the team in 2008, infusing the winery with new energy and bringing renewed vibrancy to the Pahlmeyer legacy. Vintage after vintage, Pahlmeyer continues to live up to Jayson’s audacious dream – producing phenomenal wines of power and finesse.

The current winemaker is Bibiana Gonzalez Rave. She received her oenology degree from the University of Bordeaux and has worked at estates in Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, Santa Barbara County, Sonoma Valley and other locations in addition to Napa Valley. She was named Winemaker of the Year for 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Introducing the exquisite 2021 Pahlmeyer Winery Chardonnay from the renowned Napa appellation in California. This white wine is a true masterpiece, embodying the elegance and sophistication that the region is known for. With its beautiful golden hue and impeccable clarity, the wine is a visual delight that immediately captivates the senses.

On the nose, this Chardonnay offers a symphony of aromas that dance gracefully in the glass. Sliced cooked apples take the lead, accompanied by delicate undertones of biscuit and pie crust. The fragrance is further elevated by hints of warm spices and a touch of salted caramel, creating a captivating bouquet that entices with every inhale. Subtle notes of apricot add a touch of fruitiness, enhancing the overall complexity of the aroma profile.

As the wine caresses the palate, its full-bodied nature becomes apparent, showcasing a firmness and depth that is truly remarkable. The creamy-textured phenolics provide a luxurious mouthfeel, coating the palate with a velvety smoothness. This Chardonnay is an epitome of balance, with its rich and flavorful character beautifully complemented by its depth and length.

Renowned wine critic James Suckling certainly agrees, awarding this masterpiece an impressive score of 98. He describes it as one of the best Chardonnays he has ever tasted, highlighting its drinkability while suggesting that it will reach even greater heights in two or three years.

Wine Spectator also recognizes the exceptional quality of this wine, awarding it a score of 94. They praise its exotic notes of litsea oil and flint, which add a smoky grace note to the core flavors of ripe pear, lemon sherbet, and makrut lime leaf. The fresh thread of acidity and lingering honeysuckle elements on the finish further elevate its appeal.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate joins in the chorus of praise, awarding this Chardonnay a score of 95. They highlight its intoxicating perfume, with aromas of toasted brioche, roasted cashews, grilled pear, and pineapple. The medium to full-bodied palate is concentrated and dense, yet silky and fine, leading to an elegant and lingering finish.

Crafted with utmost care and attention to detail, the 2021 Pahlmeyer Winery Chardonnay is a testament to the winery's commitment to excellence. With each sip, one can taste the passion and expertise that went into its creation. This is a wine that demands to be savored and celebrated, a true gem from the Napa appellation.