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Wine News & Reviews

2010 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 99 PTS - WA 2013

Wine Advicate 99 PTS"Flirting with perfection, the 2010 Chardonnay Marcassin Estate exhibits a serious liqueur of stones along with a greenish hue to its straw color, fabulous density, richness and full-bodied power, but zesty acids and notes of quince, white currants, subtle peach, brioche and apricot marmalade are all present in this multi-dimensional, complex, stunning Chardonnay that will be released in 2014. It should easily last for 10-15 years. - RP"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 210, Dec. 30th 2013), 99 pts

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2010 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 99 PTS - WA 2015

Wine Advicate 99 PTS"With a slightly smokier edge to the honeysuckle, poached pear, pineapple and caramelized citrus notes, the 2010 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard hits the palate with a full-bodied, thunderous affect of fruit, glycerin and acidity. The wine reveals some smoke in the aromatics, but little, if any, in the flavor profile. Full-bodied, lovely, and again, close to perfection (as so often these wines are), this is a beauty to drink over the next decade or more. - RP"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 220, August 2015), 99 pts

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2011 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 97 PTS - WA

wa97"The 2011 is a great Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard from a much-maligned and sometimes excessively criticized vintage. 2011 has its low points, but there are many producers who got it right, and survived the challenging growing and harvest conditions. This wine has phenomenal intensity, with plenty of crushed rock, pineapple, honeysuckle, orange and tangerine blossom in an elegant, medium to full-bodied style, with terrific intensity, good acidity and freshness. This is more evolved than either the 2009 or 2010, and probably will be a candidate for 7-8 years of aging, rather than 10 or more.


There is no doubt that Marcassin is the most difficult appointment for people to schedule, to sit down and taste wine with owners Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. The legacy they have created in California wine is immense. They are in their early seventies, and have decided to completely dedicate themselves to their own vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. I saw them recently, and tasted through these current and upcoming releases of both the Estate Chardonnay and Estate Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay, of course, comes from very low-yielding old Wente clones of Chardonnay planted on the slopes of the Sonoma coastline hillsides. This clone is believed to have been brought over from Burgundy’s grand cru vineyard, Corton-Charlemagne, decades ago.- RP"

- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #220, August 2015), 97 pts

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2012 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 100 PTS - WA

wa100"The 2012 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard, which will probably be released in a few months, displays great minerality, notes of honeysuckle, orange marmalade, poached pear, and white flowers as well as a touch of quince. A wine of great intensity, yet incredibly ethereal elegance, this light greenish gold-colored wine is full-bodied, stunningly rich, and altogether remarkable. When you consider that they use 100% new French oak and 100% heavy toast for both their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, it is remarkable how little oak appears in these wines. This wine should age well for 10-15 years, as most of the Marcassin Estate Chardonnays have done to date.


What an extraordinary tasting this was at the Marcassin winery just north of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Just when you think the duo of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer can’t make greater wines, they bowl over the taster with an array of exquisite quality that really must be tasted to be believed. Marcassin was probably California’s greatest Chardonnay after the famous Chalone winery fell from the pinnacle and onto hard times in the 1980s (and it has yet to rebound). Moreover, Marcassin set the bar for great Pinot Noir as well. And while both their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have many competitors these days (from the likes of Harford Court, Mark Aubert, Kistler, Kongsgaard, DuMol, Thomas Brown, Peter Michael, Martinelli and Luc Morlet, to name a few), John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley remain the reigning geniuses of these two varietals in California. Certainly, their meticulous attention to detail in both the vineyard and in the winemaking and élevage account for the quality, but they were among the pioneers who saw the unlimited potential from the Sonoma Coast, now a relatively crowded neighborhood. This was a remarkable tasting that simply blew me away, and I have been following their wines since the first Marcassins were made in the early 1990s. By the way, any doubts about aging potential should be crushed immediately, as even in the most challenging vintages in California, Marcassin Chardonnays and Pinots have aged as well as, if not better than just about any grand cru white Burgundy. For example, 1995 and 1996 Chardonnays, particularly those from the Lorenzo Vineyard, are incredibly youthful and dynamic, and the Marcassin Estate Pinot Noir, even from vintages such as 1998, is simply amazing.- RP"

- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #223, March 2016), 100 pts

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2013 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 100 PTS - WA

wa100"The 2013 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard may be even better. Notes of caramelized citrus, hazelnut, apple blossom, lemon oil and orange marmalade are all present in this wine of dazzling aromatic and flavor dimension. It is full-bodied, again shows some wet pebbles (which I equate with minerality), vibrant acidity, and no real evidence of any oak. Much like the 2012, the finish goes on for 45+ seconds. This is another killer Chardonnay from Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer."
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #223, March 2016), 100 pts

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