Her first Kistler (was delicious)…

Update: niece Emilee should be able to come home from the hospital today. She has a long road to recovery ahead of her. But we’re just glad that she’s going to get there. Thanks for all the wishes. They really mean a lot to our family.

In the late 1990s and throughout the early 2000s, when American enohipsters were vociferously shunning “California Chard” and “Napa Valley Cab,” there were standouts among their objets of derision.

One of those was Kistler Chardonnay. Even for those who had never tasted it, it represented the apotheosis of the “oaky buttery Chard” that had become their rallying cry.

I’m sorry to say that I was one of them. But I’m happy to report that I’ve seen the light in the meantime.

Last week, Tracie and I opened a bottle of 2016 Kistler Chardonnay Sonoma Mountain that had been graciously and generously given to us by our good friend Paolo — an unabashed lover of California Chardonnay.

Knowing that he loved the category, I had bought a couple of my favorite expressions of California Chardonnay to share with him while he was here in Houston visiting and working. He returned the favor with the above bottle after he heard me mention that Tra had never tasted Kistler before (that’s the kind of wonderful friend that he is).

This wine is still very early in its evolution. The notes of oak in the nose and mouth, however elegant, aren’t yet entirely integrated into the wine. But on the palate, the lithe wine’s mouthwatering fruit and savory character — stone fruit, dried and ripe, with hints of wild herbs — were already brilliant and rich. It was one of the best wines we’ve drunk at home this year and we both loved it. My only lament is that it could have used some more bottle age before we cracked it open.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after more than 20 years working in and writing about wine, it’s that it takes years and years of tasting (and tasting different styles) to develop your “palate,” as they call it.

It also takes equally long to dispel and dispense with your prejudices and preconceptions.

Kistler, I’m sorry I doubted you. And I’m so glad I’ve come around. My wife’s first Kistler was delicious!

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