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|Owner(s)||Mark Aubert, Teresa Aubert|
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Owner/winemaker Mark Aubert grew up in Napa wine country where his parents owned a vineyard. After getting a degree from University of California at Fresno in 1985 he worked at Monticello. His epiphany bottle was a 1990 Comtes Lafon Montrachet. A chance meeting with winemaker Helen Turley launched his distinguished winemaking career which included a 12-year stint at Peter Michael where he followed Helen Turley and was appointed head winemaker at 28 years old. Aubert succeeded Turley again several years later at Colgin Cellars.
Aubert has been a winemaking consultant for several prestigious wineries including Sloan, Bryant and Futo. He launched his own brand in 1999 and his vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays quickly received critical acclaim. Aubert crafts his wines from estate and leased vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast in a full-blown hedonistic style. The first wines were released with the 2000 vintage.
The Chardonnay wines are 100 per cent barrel fermented and aged in mostly new French oak. Native ferments are the rule and no lees stirring is employed to avoid oxidation. The Pinot Noir wines are made with natural yeast, whole cluster fermentation and long maceration on the skins. The wines are ripe and full-bodied, with over 15 per cent alcohol.
Until 2008, the two Pinot Noirs were from the Reuling Vineyard and UV Vineyard, both located in the Sonoma Coast AVA. By 2018, three Pinot Noirs were offered, from UV-SL and UV vineyards and a Sonoma Coast AVA bottling. By 2014, eight different vineyards were in the portfolio that Aubert either owns or acquires fruit under long-term contract (CIX, Eastside, Larry Hyde & Sons, Hudson, Lauren, Ritchie, Sugar Shack, UV-SL and UV). Sugar Shack, CIX and Lauren are estate vineyards. Aubert credits much of his success to vineyard manager Ulises Valdez who farms all six Sonoma County vineyards that Aubert draws from.
A new winery located at 333 Silverado Trail in Calistoga, CA was acquired in 2010 and the Auberts moved into the 8,000 square foot winery in January 2011. Visitors were welcomed later that year.
The wines are highly allocated, expensive $85-$100), and only sold to the lucky few on the mailing list. There is a waiting list to join the mailing list. Annual production is 10,000 cases, of which 75% is Chardonnay and the remainder Pinot Noir. As of mid-2018, plans were afoot to increase production to 15,000 cases, using new estate vineyards in the pipeline.
2015 Aubert Sugar Shack Napa Chardonnay
15.0% alc., $140 (secondary market). Mark Aubert’s only vineyard in Napa. Barrel fermented and aged in 100% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color with the slightest haze in the glass. A bold, ripe fruited wine with a gorgeous blend of lemon, pineapple citrus and tropical fruit flavors, yet there is the proper amount of acid-driven vibrancy to hold the power in check. There is no hint of alcohol, and just the slightest hint of caramelized oak. The resultant harmony and slight viscous mouth feel allows the wine to go down so easily that one is prone to consume too much. If you aren’t lucky enough to be on the mailing list, splurge on a bottle in the secondary market to see why so many wine critics are “ga-ga” over Aubert Chardonnays. Score: 97. Reviewed January 6, 2018 ARTICLE »
2012 Aubert CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
15.0% alc.,600 case, $90. This vineyard is planted with the Reuling selection of Chardonnay in 2007. It is located adjacent Lauren Vineyard. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Wondrous aromas of apple, lemon, pineapple, stone, almond and steel displaying impressive intensity and penetrating quality over time in the glass. A remarkably flavorful wine with notes of lemon curd, baked apple, peach, spice, cashew butter, burnt caramel, nutty oak, and honey with moderate richness. Beautiful oak integration in an unctuous style that is still impeccably balanced. There is no sense of high alcohol in this wine. A distinguished wine offering a bold expression of California Chardonnay. This wine has the balance to last upwards of 10 years. Score: 95. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2010 Aubert UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.3% alc., $80. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose highlights blackberry and black plum fruit with a noticeable oak contribution. Soft and smooth with generous flavors of blackberries and black plum sauce accented with hints of oak spice and vanilla. Good fruit-driven length on the finish that leaves a little heat in its wake. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Aubert UV-SL Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.0% alc., $80. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of smoky oak, tea leaf, oil and faint black fruit jam. Oak-infused flavors of dark berries, plum and cassis. Meaty with plenty of dry tannin, finishing juicy with good acidity. A man’s Pinot with full-on extraction displaying more oak at presence than I prefer. Wellcrafted in its style. Good. Reviewed December 8, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Aubert Ritchie Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
15.1% alc., $80. · Light straw color and slightly cloudy (unfiltered) in the glass. Considerable oak and malolactic driven aromatics showing scents of butter on toast, baked apple, baking spice, cookie dough, toast and graham. Big and bountiful on the palate with flavors of very ripe white peaches, Asian pears, apple, roasted nuts and spice. Hard to resist if you like a decadent, full-blown style of Chardonnay. A meal by itself. Very good. Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2008 Aubert Larry Hyde & Sons Carneros Chardonnay
15.8% alc., $80. · Golden yellow with a slight green caste and very slight haze in the glass. Prominent aromas of baked apples and pears and buttery oak. A feast of baked pears, apple pie, roasted nuts and butter brickle, richly presented with an impressive fruit intensity on the big finish. Better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Alcohol peaks out on the finish as the wine warms in the glass. This is a hedonistic style of Chardonnay best enjoyed by itself. Regrettably, although the higher alcohol adds body and texture, it limits the amount you can drink. Best to sip. Very good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »
2007 Aubert Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.6% alc., $80. · Very dark purple color. Complex nose of purple fruits, spice, sage, cola, charcoal and oak. Full-on attack of saturating plum reduction sauce on the palate with some sweetness. Fruit-driven and linear with restrained tannins and a long, dry, decadent finish. Very good. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Aubert Ritchie Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
15.1% alc., $80. · Deep golden yellow color. Nose of pears, apples, butterscotch and the faintest toasted oak. Rich and generously flavored, featuring pears, white peaches and toasty oak. A big, in your face wine with a hint of heat on the finish. The texture is pure cream and the lively grip of acidity plays off the fruit nicely. A full-throttle Chardonnay that is very alluring. I must admit a weakness for this type of Chardonnay. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Aubert UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.8% alc., $80. · Moderately dark reddish-purple in the glass. Scents of deep, dark berry jam, forest floor and spice with a hint of alcohol. Rich and mouth coating cherry and berry core with an appealing velvety texture. A hint of dark chocolate and cola adds interest. Hard not to like the flamboyant fruit. Liquid viagra. Very good. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Aubert Lauren Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
15.8% alc., $90. · A sipping Chardonnay featuring a rich and full-bodied palate of butterscotch, butter, light caramel, smoke and toasty oak. Full-bodied and creamy with a big, lengthy finish that is slightly hot. Fun to contemplate but two glasses max! Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Aubert Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.6% alc., $80. Aged 14 months. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Intensely fruity aromas augmented by a loamy, funky and toasted oak undertone. On the palate there is slightly candied and loamy strawberry and cherry fruit that is very clean and juicy. Harmonious t n ‘a. Goes down easy. Very good. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 Aubert UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.8% alc., $80. · Deep reddish-purple robe. Slightly stewed dark fruit showing scents of raisins and prune. An underlying earthiness is evident in the aromas and flavors. Full-bodied and intense overripe fruit with a hint of tea, encased in moderate tannins leading to a dry finish. For fans of the ripe style of California Pinot Noir. Decent. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2005 Aubert Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.6% alc., $80. · The nose offers strong aromas of black fruits, oak and chocolate with a little alcohol peeking out in the glass over time. A massive wine composed of concentrated and mouth-coating flavors of plum reduction sauce, blackberry jam, cola and sassafras. Syrupy and smooth in texture with a long, opulent finish. Generous and fruity rather than classy or complex. May be too over-the-top for some. Reviewed August 19, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Aubert Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.6% alc., $80. Aged for 14 months. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas evolve with time revealing black cherries, plenty of toasted oak and Asian spices. Rich, luscious core of cherry and berry fruit with a slight smoky edge. The sandpaper tannins are restrained and the finish is fruity and dry. A linear, fruit-driven unctuous wine. Very good (-). Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2005 Aubert UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.8% alc., $80. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose evolves over time developing attractive black cherry and blackberry fruits. Intense and fruit-driven dark cherry and berry core that is earthy and meaty. Relatively thick in the mouth with grainy tannins and good balancing acidity. Even more intensity and cajones than the Reuling bottling. Very good (-). Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2004 Aubert Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.6% alc.. Mark’s notes on the vintage: “The old world Pinot Noir selections survived the September heat nicely. The grapes were vatted for nearly 30 days and then aged in new French oak for 14 months. This cuvee has a real intensity of power in and across the palate.” Parker has called his wines “packed and stacked,” and he’s got that right. · This is an excellent example of the California fruit-forward style. The fruit here, however, is ripe, not over-ripe, in other words, it is concentrated Pinot extract rather than super-ripe juice. One taster likened this wine to a “purple velvet pillow.” A very plush and profound wine that is fat in the mouth. Noticeable oak but in a good way. The alcohol peaks out slightly. Great with the duck. Reviewed February 12, 2007 ARTICLE »
2004 Aubert UV Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
15.8% alc.. The UV Vineyard is a 30-acre Sonoma Coast vineyard leased by Mark Aubert and vineyard manager Ulises Valdez, planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir clone is Calera selection, reputed to be, but never proven, cuttings from La Tache in Vosne-Romanee. Mark’s notes on the vintage: “This vineyard is juxtaposed to our other Aubert vineyard sites (Lauren and Reuling). The blocks were planted on a rare soil type called “Sebastopol Clays,” and grafted to low vigor rootings. Very intense soil driven aromas of wet clay-earthen notes.” · This Pinot has more subdued aromatics than the Reuling, but there were definite wet leaf, earthy notes combined with mushroom and tea aromas. The flavors exhibited strong loamy characters along with interesting anise, tea leaves, and spice highlights. The consensus was that this wine was more “Burgundian” than the Reuling, whatever that means. It was a teeth-staining, masculine Pinot Noir, rich, long and pure on the palate. The wine was blessed with lively underlying acidity and a finish that left a lasting impression. It was almost criminal that we opened a magnum of this wine in addition to some 750s, as this will prove to be a marvelous wine down the road. Reviewed February 12, 2007 ARTICLE »