|The Palmaz Family|
The flood gates remained open this week with a bevy of exquisite and handsome wines. Not a single wine this year has left an impression on me like the Palmaz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 ($128). The 01 was produced by Randy Dunn. It is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and spent 26th month’s in 50% new French Oak. It certainly has Mr. Dunn’s stamp on it. This wine has aged beautifully. But while the aromas swarm from the glass and are clear cut, the palate is still tight and not revealing its fruit. It suggests the wine still has a few more years before peaking. It’s my understanding that this is a 10 year anniversary release but the mere fact this wine is available in the market is astonishing. I’m not sure what the right recommendation is here…seek,destroy and be greedy.
Of course all this pomp and circumstance over the 2001 may diminish the need for the Palmaz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($115) and that is criminal. The wines are now produced by Tina Mitchell and Mia Klein (yes, that Mia Klein). Composed of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot the wine spent 22 months in 80% new French oak. While Ms. Mitchell has the reigns, Ms. Klein’s touch is clearly felt in the wine’s lush and forward presence that is round and polished with fruit and silky tannins. A brilliantly long finish shows a touch of wood and smoke. If you are a fan of Spottswoode, Quintessa, Bressler, you can count on this wine. Not as slutty as Bressler, more refined than Quintessa. I haven’t had enough experience with Spotteswood to comment. It certainly deserves a strong buy.
Palmaz Vineyards and Winery also receives my vote for one of the coolest wineries. Check out the link and watch the video. Palmaz Winery Video Their production facility is nothing short of astonishing. You’d expect nothing less from the man who gave the world the Palmaz Stent and owns the famous Porsche 917-023, the car that earned Porsche its first victory at Le Mans in 1970.
Cleaning up the drool, shaking off the excess and moving on to something a bit more “affordable”, the pleasantly surprising “Domaine Daniel Pollier Saint Veran 2010 ($15) is simply delicious. Daniel and his family have been working the Domain’s 25 acres since 1984. It’s a clean style of Chardonnay (as I usually expect from Saint Veran) with fresh fruit and a little weight. Very pretty. Worth it. The Domaine Thevenot Le Brun & Fils Bourgogne Hautes-Nuits Clos du Vignon 2008 ($22) was ultimately very impressive. Rich aromas of baked pear braised in butter and cinnamon. The palate is voluptuous and soft with seductive fruit and a long finish. Modern Burgundy style. Strong buy. My palate is really enjoying the softer side of Rhone these days. Anne Pichon Viognier 2010 ($20) was released this week. The fruit is still a little shy and its showing a more floral characteristic than the 2009 vintage. But the wine will come around to show the beauty and accessibility the 2009 has. It should end up a better vintage once its had a little more bottle age. Worth it (subject to change). It’s red counterpart Anne Pichon “Peripherique” 2008 ($22) was very good. A blend of 60% Syrah, 35% old vine Grenache and 5% old vine Carignan. The grapes are fermented separately and 25% of the final blend spends 6 months in new oak barrels. A beautiful style of Cotes de Ventoux with dark berry fruit, warm earth and spice notes. A long finish with hints of Asian spice makes this wine complete. Winemaker Marc Pichon purchased Domaine le Murmurium in the Cote de Ventoux village of Mormoiron in early 2008. He currently owns 52 acres of which is cultivated using 100% organic practices. Coincidentally, if you visit the Domaine, do not bring Marc a bottle of wine from the Yves Cuilleron estate. It’s uncomfortable.
A visit from Jasmine Hirsch late Thursday afternoon was a rare treat. In fact, this may be the first time she’s been to the Connecticut market. If you’re not following this woman on Twitter (@jasminehirsch), you’re missing out. I live vicariously through her as I follow her escapades across the US and drool with every dinner description and Champagne picture. Okay fine, my life isn’t all that bad either. But when you’re the hardworking daughter of the god-father of CA Pinot Noir, life is pretty good. When you get to schlep around Bohan Dillon Pinot Noir 2009 ($34) and Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir 2009 ($60), the doors are always open. And if they have any class, are opened for you. The Bohan Dillon is a terrific expression of CA Pinot Noir that’s not punchy or overly extracted. Instead, it is elegant and graceful with just the right amount of weight and attitude. Given the price, the source of the fruit and overall package, it’s definitely a Strong Buy. Be careful though. There’s not much left. As for the San Andreas, two words – the bomb. Winemaker Ross Cobb has produced a simply exceptional wine from the 2009 harvest. I believe the word Ms. Hirsch used was “slut”. And she’s right. At first, the San Andreas is a bit forward and aggressive but with a little time in the glass it develops layers and depth. The tannins start to flesh out and you get gorgeous, elegant Pinot Noir. The acidity level in the 2009 is near perfect hinting that while this wine is enjoyable in its youth, patience will be rewarded. It’s a Hollywood story Pinot Noir. Like the voice of James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman, calming, deep and timeless. Worth Every Penny. Ms. Hirsch also made a comment regarding the high price of label registration in Connecticut. It’s an entry barrier that causes many of the small production wines sought after by Connecticut’s greatest stores and collectors to ignore the market. It’s another harmful piece of legislation that needs to be cleaned up by the administration.