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PAUL LATO CHARDONNAY "KOKORO", SIERRA MADRE VINEYARD, SANTA MARIA VALLEY 2016
The 2016 Chardonnay Kokoro hails exclusively from the Sierra Madre Vineyard this year, but unlike Le Souvenir, it was aged in 100% new oak. Remarkably, this lovely Chardonnay—which reminded me of a higher appellation Puligny from Domaine Marc Colin—has digested its new wood almost entirely, opening in the glass with aromas of pear, preserved citrus, honey, praline and wheat toast. On the palate, it’s full-bodied and texturally lavish, more spicy and opulent than the Belle de Jour or Souvenir, but it remains bright and pure through the long, saline finish.
NVWE Notes: More citric, more floral and more “scaled-up” than Lato’s fine “Le Souvenir” Chardonnay, the “Kokoro” rolls-out scents of baked peach, baked apple, tarte tatin, tangerine, white rose, preserved lemon, candied orange peel, chilled watermelon soup, white pepper, baking-spice and hazelnut nougat over chalky minerality. In the mouth its palate-coating richness is balanced by soft-edged zest, and that lovely harmony lingers long after the flavors of peach, apple, watermelon sorbet, dried orange and lemon peel, white pepper, nut husk, nutmeg and baking spices first roll across the palate. Just delicious now, it promises to grow ever more so over the next few years, and it deserves service with the grandest of sauced fish or fowl entrees. Aged in 100% new oak barrels, 75 cases produced.