Kistler is a highly regarded producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sonoma in California. Founded in 1978, their main focus is on Chardonnay, and unusually they have used just one heritage clone across all their vineyards, making this a point of difference. With Pinot, they’ve branched out, and use two clones!
They make 11 vineyard designate Chardonnays and two vineyard designate Pinot Noirs, and these are sold through a mailing list. To order, you have to join the mailing list, wait your turn, then respond to offers – either taking up your allocation in full, or taking part of it, or asking for extra bottles. Even after this, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your initial allocation: attempts are made to spread the wines evenly, and to have some spare for new customers.
These are notes on some of the Kistler wines I recently tried, in Copenhagen and Texas. They aren’t the single-site wines, but instead are blends across terroirs. Pricing is pretty punchy, with the single vineyard wines selling for more than £200 a pop in the UK. You can visit if you are in Sonoma, but as with many of California’s top producers, there’s a sizeable tasting fee, starting at $175.
Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay 2019 Sonoma Coast, California
This is a blend from the various sites across Sonoma Coast. Toast, meal and spice on the nose with some pear, citrus and pineapple, as well as some mealy hints and nice depth. Very rich and expansive with power and precision. 95/100 (UK retail £150 Wanderlust)
Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay 2021 Sonoma Coast, California
Textural and broad with a nice citrus core and peachy richness. There’s also some spicy oak in the mix. Refined with nice focus, and some stony notes. This is quite refined and doesn’t lack in freshness. 94/100
Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2021 Sonoma, California
Ripe, textural and spicy, this has lovely red cherry fruit with some berry notes. Ripe but refined with fleshy depth and a long spicy finish. Quite textural with subtle meaty notes adding savoury interest. 94/100
Kistler Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2021 Sonoma, California
Lively and vibrant with redcurrant and red cherry notes as well as some spice. There’s a lovely acid line here. Silky and vibrant, and really fresh. 95/100 (UK retail £105 Hedonism)