Last Week's Tasting Notes (12.20.19)
de Bernard Cuvee Prestige Millesimato Prosecco ($13.99)
From the producer:
"Tasting notes: very clear, pale straw-yellow tending to green, with a fine and persistent fizz.
The aroma is intense, persistent and fruity, exceptionally refined, with dominant notes of ripe golden apples and banana.
This medium sweet, fresh wine is pleasantly light and low in alcohol. It is also very soft and balanced with a long fruity finish.
Serving recommendations: best served at a temperature of 5-7°C, pouring immediately after removing the cork.
Recommended with: excellent as an aperitif. Goes well with fruits and delicate salty foods."
This is a bit unusual in that the producer is actually a Grappa specialist who also only makes Prosecco and no other wine. Though it has a little residual sugar, it still drinks fairly dry, and wow, does it go down easily! It's a nice example of a slightly more elegant Prosecco.
Goretti Grechetto ($17.99)
From the producer:
"Goretti cellars have always been at the forefront of environmental protection.
Every business choice is inspired by obtaining the best quality of the grapes without undergoing excessive stress neither the vine plant nor the soil.
The cellars do not produce certified organic products but have always paid attention to the environmental impact that the winemaking production of companies can have, knowing that to make the difference of the products is the protection of their territories from which the vines are born and grow.
Environmental sustainability is therefore intended for Goretti wineries as the best way to transfer to a new generation a company and a territory that is not impoverished and excessively exploited but still rich in natural and human resources.
On 9th July 2013 the Goretti wineries received the Cifo prize “excellent footprints: sustainable agronomic techniques for a valuable viticulture”, dedicated to good environmental practices in the vineyard and in the cellar.
As evidence of the continuous search for innovation in respect of the environment, the cellars continue to invest in renewable energy through a photovoltaic system and operating in the local market with 100% electric means.
light straw-yellow with faint greenish reflections
deep and elegant with fruit notes, in particular,
on the nose, are notes of pineapple, banana, yellow peach, Scotch broom flowers and almonds
fresh and full flavoured. Well-balanced with lingering
HOW TO SERVE, SERVE WITH
as an aperitif, excellent with many dishes, fish and white meat."
This is one of Sage's growing list of wines made from an indigenous varietal. It is fresh with a little body and a distinctly fruity character. The acidity and minerality keep it lifted on the palate and the finish lingers. Sauv Blanc drinkers will especially appreciate this style of wine.
Querciavalle Chianti Classico Riserva ($24.99)
From the producer:
"Since the year of the wine estate establishment in 1954, the Riserva Querciavalle has always been considered as one of the most representative wine of the Losi family’s production. Appreciated also by the most demanding customers for its excellent quality, this wine represents the real authentic expression of Chianti Classico appellation.
Wine making: Fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature lower than 27° for about 15-20 days, which is the average suitable time for extraction from the skin of colour, polyphenols, tannins and other typical features of Chianti Classico. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine is placed in cement-vitrified tanks for the second fermentation, until the malic acid gets totally exhausted. Only at this moment, the wine will be ready for ageing in wood Aging: 24-30 months in 53 hl Slavonian oak casks Refining: an additional rest in bottles for 3-6 months before merchandising further enhances Chianti Classico aromas and flavours.
Bottles produced: 15,000
Colour: brilliant deep ruby red, tending to garnet with aging
Bouquet: intense, fine and charming, recalling ripen fruit, berries and vanilla;
Flavour: warm and harmonious; elegant noble tannins, dry, complex and with long-lasting finish
Serving Suggestions: T-bone steak, lamb, wild boar and wild game"
The first time I tasted this wine, I didn't have strong feelings about it. Chianti is not my favorite, so I struggle a little with choosing which to sell in the shop. The second time I tried it, I was lucky enough to be dining with Francesco and Valeria Losi (daughter of the winemaking family and head of international sales). Over several courses we tried all of the brand's wines, and when I had the Chianti Riserva paired with food (specifically pork osso bucco), it was a revelation. It's no secret that a great pairing will bring out the best of the food and the wine, but this Chianti really demands to be enjoyed with a meal. You can appreciate it on its own, but a hearty, fatty, rich dish will really let it shine.
Bodegas Bleda Pino Doncel 12 Meses ($22.99)
From the producer:
"Made with a selection of Monastrell and Syrah grapes from our vineyards, this wine is aged at least twelve months in select French and American oak barrels. It has great aromatic intensity, complex on the nose and balanced on the palate. It is fruity and fresh, with mature tannins that give it volume and richness, as well as a long finish. A wine that always leaves you wanting more!
Monastrell (red-wine grapes with small, tightly bunched clusters) is the variety that best adapts to the conditions in Jumilla, as it needs a warm climate to ripen properly and tolerates the lack of rain very well. It ripens very well, given the ease with which both sunlight and air can penetrate its scarce foliage. The many hours of sunlight and abrupt temperature changes, with hot summer days and cool nights plus intensely cold winters with temperatures often dropping below freezing at night, give the Monastrell grapes a high concentration of essential components, allowing us to make powerful, deeply coloured wines with great structure and aromatic complexity.
Monastrell vines are not irrigated and require large swaths of land, as it is a low-yield grape that is harvested by hand in a “back-breaking” process.
Monastrell, in general, doesn’t need phytosanitary treatment, as it is highly resistant to cryptogams. The dry, arid climate of the region also helps in this regard. So, we can grow the grapes organically without any of the much-feared infestations vines are prone to in damper areas.
Color: deep cherry. Aroma: Sweet spice, ripe fruit. In mouth: Complex, ripe tannins, long finish."
If you are a California Cab or Old Vine Zin drinker, try this wine. It's big and bold, smooth on the palate, rich, and long-lasting. This wine is more elegant than others that I've had from the area, perhaps due to the addition of the Syrah, which gives it some backbone and keeps it from being a fruit bomb.
Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino 2008 ($69.99)
From the producer:
"A life and a passion devoted to agriculture …A life that has its roots in a strong and generous territory, the territory of Montalcino.
…A life that the Fattoi family has always dedicated with absolute self-denial, enthusiasm and professionalism, to the production of wine and olive oil that have made Montalcino famous world-wide.
Ageing: 4 years total, 2 in oak casks and tonneaux
Bottle ageing: 4 months at least
Average yearly production: 20.000 bottles of 0,750 lt.
The wine is visibly limpid, brilliant, an intense ruby red color, with reflections of garnet.
intense, persistent, full and ethereal, revealing the aromas of spices, forest floor, small red fruit and rich perfumed roses.
The wine is elegant, harmonious, with long aromatic persistence, balanced tannins and well rounded, with a dry and persistent finish
18° C. It is advisable to uncork the bottle at least 2 — 3 hours before serving. The wine benefits from being decanted in order to aerate the wine. Serve in crystal balloon glasses.
Recommended food accompaniment:
Red meats, game, mushroom and truffle dishes, aged cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Tuscan Pecorino. An excellent wine for meditation."
The pricing on this wine reflects that it is a 2008 (a very good vintage for Montalcino), but at the same time, the age and quality make this a fair bargain. This wine is approachable now, but will drink well over the next five years, though I am partial to opening now and enjoying it! Elegant, soft tannins prevail, but there is enough structure here to balance the dark red fruit and mild baking spices. A subtle earthiness underlies the fruit. This is a beautiful wine.
Last Week's Tasting Notes (12.6.19)
H. Blin Brut Champagne ($39.99)
Marne Valley, France
From the producer:
"Champagne H. BLIN embraces the Art of Champagne while remaining true to its remarkable character and style. Located in Vincelles, in the middle of the Marne Valley, Champagne H. BLIN primarily uses one of the most amazing varieties of the region: the Pinot Meunier.
This variety offers a unique and surprising taste with subtle freshness and fruitiness.
80% Pinot Meunier
Dosage 8 g/l
Disgorged 3 months minimum before delivery
Bottle age: 24 months minimum
TASTING NOTES :
Appearance : Golden straw, sparkling clear and transparent. Abundance of fine but persistent bubbles.
Nose : Lively and expressive. Scents of citrus freshness and nuances of freshly baked bread.
Palate : Simple and elegant. Lively aromas of ripe green apples and notes of toasty brioche.
FOOD PAIRING :
Risotto with parmesan
Sweet and sour pork
Vanilla ice cream"
This Champagne is truly unique in its blend of grapes, and it drinks like a wine twice its price. The farming methods are organic, and the aim of the producer is to create a sense of terroir with their wines. This is not the approach of large producers like Veuve and Moët, which source grapes from all over the region of Champagne. The grapes for this Champagne come only from the area around the village of Vincelles.
Poderi Vaiot "Franco" Arneis ($17.99)
From the producer:
"In 2001 after years of learning the family secrets from their father, Franco, Daniele and Walter Casetta began forging their own path in the wine world using their father’s vision as a guide. By studying, experimenting and combining passion with innovation, they have found a unique and distinctive style.
The vineyards and hills of the Roero where Poderi Vaiot is located stretch out as far as the eye can see, alternating with picturesque ravines, castles and old villages. This historic region of Piedmont straddles the provinces of Cuneo, Asti and Torino, and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.
The history of this area is inextricably linked to the important role played in its past by its namesake, the House of Roero, a noble family renowned as early as the XII century for its enterprise and power. The twenty-four small towns and villages which compose the region have remained almost unchanged and continue to live side-by-side, just as they did under the Roero family centuries ago.
Safeguarding this historic land and environment is important to Poderi Vaiot, where winegrowing traditions have always sought to establish equilibrium between man and nature. Treatments in the vineyard are limited as much as possible and carried out with the utmost care and attention. Most of the work is done by hand to preserve the land’s natural biodiversity. Many wild herbs grow in Poderi Vaiot’s estate vineyards. They are beneficial to the ecosystem and to health, and the intention is to protect them, rediscovering their uses and properties.
Fresh and delicate with fragrant chamomile and white peach on the nose. The palate follows through with flavors of lemon curd and pear balanced by vibrant acidity.
Grapes: 100% Arneis
Fermentation: Spontaneous fermentation with ambient yeasts in stainless steel tanks
Aging: 6 months on the lees in stainless steel and 2 months in bottle
Production: 30,000 bottles per year
Appearance: deep straw yellow with green hues.
Nose: fresh, delicate and tempting with a well-balanced fragrance of chamomile and white flesh fruit, an indelible remembrance of this kind of grape.
Palate: smooth and pronounced, slightly sharp for a fresh and lingering wine.
Gastronomic matching: it is excellent with the typical Piedmontese starters, cooked with white meat too. However, it also accompanies fish and first dishes, prepared with vegetable sauces, very well."
Arneis is the Italian white that I never knew I needed until I tasted it, and I hope that you love it as much as I do. It's both elegant and refreshing, fruity and floral. It's got enough body to make it a four-season wine.
Domaine les Evigneaux Rasteau 2016 ($22.99)
Southern Rhône Valley, France
From the producer:
Benoit and Frederic Lavau have always been fans of Rasteau which became a cru in 2010, and they have been making it for many years. Because of their special fondness for these vineyards whose outstanding exposure they recognize and which they consider to be 'atypical,' they decided to acquire 10 ha in the appellation in 2014. their 12 plots are located in Rasteau’s most emblematic terroirs. these are ideal vineyards for their plans to create a wine capable of delivering all the complexity and power of this extraordinary AOC.
The Syrah vines are planted in the gravel and clay soil of the Quaternary terraces of Bellerive. Located in the south of the appellation, these are sunny and early ripening, providing the vines with perfect growing conditions. The Grenaches are planted to the north in cooler soil, accentuating the variance between day and night time temperatures and thereby enhancing the colour and aromatic intensity of the varietal. the pebble and gravel soil mixed with complex clay allows constant, even drainage and water supply.
'The nose is complex and of great depth, a mixture of blackcurrant, raspberry and vanilla extract. The palate is meaty and develops its intensity and power across the entire length of the wine. The tannins are robust and well integrated, promising a spectacular result after 3 to 5 years’ cellar ageing (if you can wait that long!).'"
Blend: Grenache 50% Syrah 30% Carignan 10% Mourvèdre 5% Cinsault 5%
Ageing: 12 months in new 228L barrels"
I've never met a Southern Rhône wine that I didn't like, and if pressed I admit that the region is, globally, my favorite. Rasteau is an appellation with which I was unfamiliar, so I was eager to try this wine. The blend of grapes is typical to the larger region, but the soil and exposure lend unique traits. This Rasteau shows some boldness of flavor, but its complexity makes it compelling. It's a wine to contemplate for a bit as you taste it. You can certainly enjoy it now, but do consider buying a bottle to lay down for a couple of years.
Alois Trebulanum ($34.99)
From the producer:
"Classification: Terre del Volturno IGT
Grape varietal: Casavecchia 100%
Production area: Pontelatone (CE/Italy)
The Casavecchia grape variety has a mysterious origin. There is an old country legend that narrates the discovery of a small grape vine in a 'casa vecchia' that means 'old house' in the township of Pontelatone.
This vine survived the epidemic times of the Phylloxera and the parasite fungus of Oidio dated 1851.
Casavecchia has extraordinary qualities and it is currently studied in the agricultural faculties of the University of Naples and Florence.
There are also some hypothesis that see the Casavecchia as the wine Trebulanum, praised by the Latin writer Pliny in his famous Historia Naturalis (Natural History) as a wine that came from vineyards on the hills surrounding the old town of Tremula Balliensis, an area that now comprehend the townships of Pontelatone, Castel di Sasso Liberi and Formicola.
The propagation started with the cut and the setting of a small branches and the provine, an ancient method that places the vine branch in the soil until it develops its own roots.
To the nose and the mouth, the Casavecchia gives an evocative fruity taste than only a few other fruits can give."
This single vineyard indigenous red is one of the most interesting wines I've yet tasted. My tasting notes on this include the word "perfect." The current vintage is 2012, and it can easily take 5-10 years of cellaring. If you want to enjoy it now, though, expect a bold tannin propping up deep red fruit and mild forest earthiness. This, to me, exemplifies Southern Italian wine at its best.
Poderi Vaiot Barbera d'Alba "Lupestre" ($19.99)
From the producer:
The Piedmontese wine par excellence, it reaches its absolute peak after 2/3 years of ageing.
Ageing: in apricot wood casks passed down through the generations.
Colour: bright, intense ruby red with purplish highlights.
Nose: delicate, ethereal, intense, expansive and persistent, featuring fruity plum, blackberry and cherry overtones, slightly spicy.
Taste: full-bodied and mouth-filling, varietal acidity, nicely balanced. The taste is dry, fresh and fragrant, very long.
Food pairings: particularly recommended with first courses, grilled or oven-roast red meat, and briefly/medium-matured soft cheeses."
This wine is new to the shop, though I've been eyeing it for a while. This is the same winery that produces the Arneis, and I think they do a spectacular job with their wines. Barbera is a little more approachable and robust than Nebbiolo, so I wanted to have this on hand for the winter. The apricot wood ageing is novel, but it does add a layer of complexity that you will not have found in other wines of the region.
Montalbera Ruché 'Laccento' 2015 ($33.99)
From the producer:
"The Montalbera Winery was founded at the beginning of the 20th century in the townships of Grana, Castagnole Monferrato, and Montemagno. In the mid-1980s, the Morando family began expanding their property by purchasing land in adjacent territories and planting it with new grapevines, mainly Ruchè. Today, a continuous stretch of vineyard encircles the winery. The vineyards are planted entirely on hillsides, supplying the vines with different expositions and soils, from clay to limestone. A unique aspect that has always distinguished Montalbera in the Piedmontese winemaking landscape is that the winery sits astride two of the region’s most important winemaking zones: the Monferrato and the Langhe.
For generations, the Morando family has believed and invested in Piedmontese viticulture. For years, they have passionately dedicated themselves to the development of the native variety Ruchè.
Because of their ongoing commitment, Montalbera arises as one of the great wineries of Piedmont. The foundation of their success lies in solid, recognizable values that translate very clearly in the wines they produce. Through rigor and planning, interpretation and terroir, Montalbera consistently creates 230,000 bottles per year of extraordinary quality. Each wine is interpreted in different ways, from stainless steel to wood, from overripe to withering, in order to best showcase the multifaceted personality of each varietal.
Intense ruby in red color, with slight purple notes. Extended, aromatic nose with fruity aromas of wild berry and jam. Warm on the palate, with a pleasant and rare silkiness on the finish.
Grapes: 100% Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato
Fermentation: In Stainless Steel Tanks using 95% overripe grapes, with 12-14 days of skin contact.
Aging: At least 6 Months in the bottle
Production: 54,000 bottles per year"
I tend to struggle with wines from Piemonte--well, with anything made from Nebbiolo anyway--because the lightness of the wine and the firmness of the tannin is too much for my palate. This for sure puts me in the minority of Italian wine drinkers, most of whom adore Barolo. I have been working on this weakness, and at the same time I've been exploring other grapes, including the indigenous and lesser-known Ruchè. This wine was a revelation to me: intense color, depth of flavor without too much weight on the palate, a slight jammy cranberry note, and enough structure without being overly tannic or acidic. Just a beautiful wine from an exquisite vintage.
Scarbolo Campo del Viotto 2015 ($43.99)
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
From the producer:
"An intense deep ruby red color with pomegranate hues. Ripe notes of marasca cherries, sweet tobacco, dark chocolate and ripe wild berries.
Intense on the palate, with soft sweet tannins and spiced persistent finish.
Grapes: 100% Merlot
Fermentation: The first whole clusters harvested are dried out for about 20 days, then the fermentation occurs in small Oak Barrels. After the
fermentation, barrels are sealed and the wine remains in contact with the skins until mid December.
Aging: 2 Years in small Oak barriques; then 6
Months in the bottle prior to release
Production: 850 Cases"
Another wine from Scarbolo that flips the script. Hate Merlot? Think it's an unimpressive varietal? Try this wine. From the partial raisinating of the grapes to the long aging, this takes Merlot to the next level. Elegant and rich. This is one of the only shops in NY to have this vintage.
Flor de Penalva Dao Red ($12.99)
From the producer:
Technology: Total destemming crushing, fermentation in stainless steel vats at 28-30 ° C, aging in stainless steel vats for 1 year.
Taste: Ruby color, bright appearance, clean aroma, with fruity notes, pine wood and wild flowers. In the mouth it has good freshness, body, soft tannins and pleasant finish."
This winery uses a cooperative of growers in order to get the best fruit, which in this case includes two varietals of Spanish origin and one that's indigenous to the local area. Tinta-Roriz (Tempranillo), Jaen (Mencia), and Alfrocheiro make up this blend that has a delicate elegance. This is not the bold Portuguese red that I've had--it is, as reflected in its name, a floral wine that is light/medium on the palate. This is a real value for the quality.
De Muller Aureo Dulce Anejo 1954 ($29.99)
From the producer:
"An exquisite sweet wine elaborated from the most selected vines of white Garnacha and red Garnacha and aged for long in oak barrels using the best solera method.
Splendid amber colour with numerous mahogany tones.
Rich, sensational, with many nuances, this sweet wine tastes very smooth, with fruity notes of prunes, raisins and figs giving us a very agreeable and warm sensation with a clear toasted aftertaste which shows us its long ageing in old oak casks.
This is the perfect wine for special celebrations and for normal days, too. Ideal with dried fruits, nougats, fresh cheese, quince, foie-gras and all dessert recipes. Sublime to be drunk alone."
This is a fortified wine, not unlike Port, but with the flavor profile closer to an Italian Vin Santo. The solera method of aging means that as bottles come off the oldest barrel, a little wine is left and blended with some from the next-oldest barrel. What that comes down to is that there's a tiny bit of the original 1954 wine in this bottle. If you love dessert wines, if you've never had one, or if you think you won't like one, please try this. It's wonderful.
Etienne Oudart Champagne--Brut Référence ($50.99)
From the distributor:
"Jacques Oudart belongs without any doubt to the upcoming stars of the Champagne area. The Oudart Family has been involved in Champagne making since the late 1950’s. They own 22 acres spread mainly over 2 regions: Vallee de la Marne and the Epernay area. This is definitively a major asset as it gives Jacques the possibility to blend all 3 grape varietals and still have the influence of all the various terroirs.
Jacques Oudart is very meticulous about winemaking and insists on extending his Champagne aging in order to hit the perfect ripeness when the bottle reaches the consumer.
Champagne Oudart’s trademark is to create elegant and fine wines. Most of the cuvee blend uses Chardonnay for its strength, Pinot Meunier for the fruit and Pinot Noir to add personality.
Bright gold color with some note of copper. On the tasting aromas of toast, brioche and hazelnuts appear. Long aromatic persistence in the mouth."
This Champagne is produced sustainably with minimal chemical intervention. The production is relatively small at 25,000 bottles per year. I sometimes find Champagne to be too "yeasty" tasting, but this one strikes a nice balance with the fruit and acidity. I find that it is great value for money, and it's nice to be able to support a smaller winemaker. I would much rather drink Oudart than Moët or Veuve.
Domaine du Chateau de Fleys Chablis 2015 ($25.99)
From the distributor:
"Julien Philippon moved from the neighbouring Morvan region to Fleys in 1868 as a lumberjack . Gradually he bought land and vineyards that still today represent the majority of the Estate. Julien Philippon, on the advice of an old winemaker and general counselor in Chablis, was certainly the first to plant the rootstock 161-49 in 1936, vines still in production at the place called 'Les Monts de Milieu.' Since the Estate has been transmitted through the generations. Today the Estate cultivates about 55 acres on some of the best Chablis terroir, all around the central 'mont du milieu.'
An AOP Chablis that has the depth of a 1er Cru! This Chablis comes from a 4 ac 20 year old vineyard adjacent to the 1er Cru 'Les Fourneaux.' Aged 100% in stainless tank, it stays on the lees for 10 months. The vinification gives this wine the minerality of Chablis with a complex aroma structure. This Chablis has an exceptional concentration and length in mouth, which makes it a great choice for seafood,asparagus and goat cheese. It can also just be enjoyed for what it is: a great expression of Chablis!"
It was HARD to rid my mind of the image of a big jug of bad California wine whenever I heard the word "Chablis." I call it wine trauma. I was finally able to accept that proper Chablis has NOTHING to do with Carlo Rossi. Even so, I put off selling one for about a year, and then Thomas introduced me to this beauty. Technically this is entry-level, but it's about as fantastic a wine as you can get outside 1er Cru, and it will, I guarantee, heal any wine wounds you might have when it comes to the name "Chablis."
Clos des Cazaux Vacqueyras "Les Clefs d'Or" ($26.99)
"The Clos des Cazaux domaine was founded in 1905 by Gabriel Archimbaud. The Archimbaud and Vache families are among the oldest ones in Vacqueyras, dating back to 1635. The 98 acre estate is currently run by Jean Michel and Frederic Vache.
The vines are cultivated with utmost respect to the environment. Only Bordeaux mixture (antifungal agent consisting of a solution of copper sulfate and quicklime) and sulfur are used in the phytosanitary (pertaining to the health of plant) and vineyard treatment. At all times, the vineyards are manually tended, including manual harvest. To ensure optimal quality, only the best grapes are selected during a green harvest in Summer which eliminates at least 20% of the production.
Vacqueyras is also a 'cru' since 1990. The appellation rules are very similar to those of Gigondas, and thus to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, although only half the grapes in a red Vacqueyras haf to be Grenache. The rest are usually Syrah. Mourvedre, and Cinsault. Vacqueyras may be red, white, or rose, although only a miniscule proportion of its dramatically expanded vinyard total of 1,000 ha/2,500 acres is planted with white grape varieties.
50% Clairette, 30% Rousanne, 20% Grenache Blanc
10,000 bottles produced annually
The juice ferments naturally and its temperature is maintained at 16 C all through fermentation. This allows to obtain a pure white wine with a lively acidity. It features flavours of fennel and white flowers. The c
Clairette brings a refreshing acidity. The mouth is long and soft."
This wine is one that you really won't see often. Not only is the production quite limited, but in general white Vacqueyras is a rare find. In the U.S. we have finally embraced red blends, but white blends are still elusive, and that's a shame. White Rhone blends are particularly lovely, and can be enjoyed year-round. This wine is a fine example: it has a full, round mouthfeel, and is soft on the palate, but with just enough acidity to give it structure and character. This is something special.
Hesperian "Anatomy No. 1" 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.99)
Napa Valley, California
From the distributor:
"Anatomy No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of fruit from select vineyards in Napa Valley and aged 18 months in a mix of 20% new French oak; 30% once- and 50% twice-used French oak. Anatomy No. 1 is a medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that has cedar, graphite, and pencil lead notes similar to French Bordeaux, but wrapped inside there is California ripe fruit qualities of blackberry, plum, fennel and baking spices from oak aging that emerge through over time. All of Philippe's wines are meant for contemplation and it pays off to experience them slowly. They are made to reflect the land and the influence nature has on the subtle nuances in tannin, aromatics, and flavor.
While at Rothschild-held Château Clarke in the Médoc, Philippe Langner worked alongside Jacques Boissenot and Michel Rolland, the man responsible for some of the world’s highest-scoring and notoriously rare clarets and Cabernets. Following a season in South Africa, Philippe returned to California — he earned his degree at U.C. Davis — spending a decade as head viticulturist and winemaker at Napa’s Sullivan Winery, while simultaneously developing Hesperian. In 2010 Philippe left Sullivan, settling into Hesperian full-time at his current 14-acre plot on Atlas Peak. Philippe Langner, under his Hesperian label, makes single-vineyard (mostly), small-lot Napa Cabs from carefully chosen sites in well-regarded areas of the valley, such as Rutherford, Spring Mountain and Coombsville, in addition to Atlas Peak where he is located."
This is a great example of how Napa Cabs are starting to diverge from the monolithic fruit bombs that they have been. For sure there are some great wines that are big, bold, and fruity, but recently some winemakers are using a more delicate hand to craft an end product that speaks more of terroir and nuance than simple flavor profile. I think there is room for both, and I'm happy to sell this Napa Cab to show what a French influence can have over a California style. It is a lovely marriage of ripe fruit and restrained oaking that is a delight to drink.