"Eccentric Genius" -
1995 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvée CH Sonoma

Posted by Joe Salamone

Antonio Galloni has called Kalin's Terry Leighton an "eccentric genius". That's an apt two word summary.

Kalin's Chardonnays are profoundly singular - deeply nuanced and complicated with a vibrant core of acidity.

In his View from the Cellar, John Gilman calls Kalin's wines: "Invariably some of California’s greatest Grand Cru Chardonnay bottlings." This is indeed an expression of Chardonnay so finessed, so deeply mineral that White Burgundy lovers would be wise to check it out.

Kalin is a fascinating, enigmatic and unique winery. Frankly speaking, one of the craziest parts of Kalin is that they offer perfectly stored, library releases with twenty plus years of age for the same price as a current vintage California Chardonnay.

Today, marks our third Kalin offering and the 1995 Cuvée CH is very likely the best wine that we've tasted from Kalin. In November, we offered Kalin's 1995 Cuvée W sourced from the Livermore Valley and the offer blew up. For us, this recent release sourced from the Sonoma Coast is even more compelling. We expect it to disappear very quickly.

Kalin is one of three or four California Chardonnays that age for decades upon decades.

At the heart of Kalin's philosophy is waiting to release wines when they enter their prime drinking window. The 1995 Chardonnay Cuvée CH is the current release. Very few producers are able to follow such a protocol. The easy comparison is López de Heredia Rioja. The comparison is helpful, too, because Kalin's wines possess a similar deliberately oxidative profile and all the complexity that it brings.

The Charles Heintz Vineyard is one of California's famous cool climate sites. It's in Occidental on the Sonoma Coast and sits on a steep hillside with limestone and shale soils. Chardonnays from Heintz have an electric core and cool elegance.

Kalin's 1995 Heintz bottling has a thrilling tension and incredible scale to its explosive complexity. There's a punchy saline minerality that forms the backbone. It also possesses a ridiculous spectrum of crisp orchard and yellow fruits, roasted nuts, spice and citrus. Everything is integrated with beautiful harmony and finesse.

Overall, it's a breathtaking presentation that we'd gladly pay twice the amount for. You'd be hard pressed to find an expression of California Chardonnay that's as intriguing or compelling.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

1995 Kalin Chardonnay Cuvée CH