Grand Cru Intensity and Sophistication - 93 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay "Cuvée LD Stealth"

Posted by Joe Salamone

"Eccentric Genius"
1993 Kalin Cellars
Chardonnay "Cuvée LD Stealth"
80 Cases Produced

"This is an utterly stunning bottle of Chardonnay... Grand Cru intensity and sophistication" -John Gilman

Kalin Cellars is a singular old-school California estate. There's simply no one in California making wine like they do.

Antonio Galloni has referred to Kalin's Terry Leighton as "an eccentric genius." That sums it up nice and succinctly.

Last week, we tasted Kalin Cellar's recently released 93 Chardonnay "Cuvée LD Stealth" and we were really, really impressed.

We haven't done many California Chardonnay offers, but Kalin's 93 LD Stealth was so special that there was no question.

For a winery that has released no shortage of great wines, this is easily one of the most impressive wines that we've tasted from Kalin.

The bottles have been perfectly stored in Kalin's cellars. The fact that you can get a bottle almost 20 years old for what current vintage village White Burgundy goes for helps to underscore just how impressive the deal is.

Burgundy is a helpful point of departure. John Gilman informs us that LD stands for "Le Darryl," an homage to a lover of Puligny who worked many harvests for Kalin. When we tasted the 93 LD Stealth, someone immediately commented that it had a Ramonet-like mintiness. The parallels go far beyond that. There's an elegance and mineral streak that recalls Puligny all wrapped around an extra layer of California fruit.

Kalin Cellars has always focused on cool sites that give their wines good acid and structure. The 93 LD Stealth is sourced from a special parcel of old vines planted in Long Vineyards, a hillside vineyard in Dry Creek.

Gilman notes the "Grand Cru intensity and sophistication" that really does get to the heart of the wine. There's a wonderful depth of polished minerality to the wine along with complex stone fruits and a dancing acidity to contrast the richness.

There's much more to be said, but it's probably best to leave it at that. With only 80 cases produced, it's unwise to fan the fire any more.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

John Gilman: "Over the years, Kalin Cellars has released a few "Stealth Cuvées" which are small lots of old vines that are aged for an extended period (even by the Leightons’ very "old school" approach to release dates!) prior to being let out of the cellar for Kalin initiates around the world. The stealth bottling of 1993 Cuvée LD (which Terry and Frances Leighton have dubbed "Le Darryl" for a longtime Kalinite who helped with a decades’- worth of harvests here and loved the style of Puligny’s grand crus) hails from the Jasper Long hillside vineyard in Dry Creek. This vineyard was also the source of the original ’93 LD released several years ago, but this very limited bottling (less than eighty cases were produced in total) was vinified to highlight the character of the ’93 vintage in a manner reminiscent of a Puligny grand cru. It was raised in fifty percent new wood and spent an extended period of twenty-four months aging on its fine lees prior to bottling and has been resting comfortably in the Kalin cellars since early 1996. The wine is absolutely stunning, soaring from the glass in a vibrant and very complex blend of pear, fresh apricot, orange zest, fresh nutmeg, salty soil tones (that are very reminiscent of mature Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet- just in case Darryl was curious), a hint of iodine and a lovely base of buttery oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and magically complex, with grand cru intensity and sophistication, a rock solid core, bright acids and stunning length and grip on the seamless and laser-like finish. This is an utterly stunning bottle of chardonnay at its apogee of peak maturity, but in true Kalin fashion, it still has decades of life ahead of it!"