We love visiting Clos Pegase in the upper Napa Valley off Silverado Trail. The owner’s pitch it as a temple to wine and art and we agree. The Michael Graves designed building is both unique and beautiful. The landscape art is is intriguing. The wine fits our palate perfectly.
We attended an event there a couple of years ago and shot some video that will be in our upcoming Discover Napa Valley video. Fortunately part of the event was a slide show by the owner Jan Schrem about his huge art collection. The show was in an intimate theater deep in the barrel caves. If you have an interest in art this is a must see show – and winery. The giant thumb sticking out of the ground is a Napa Valley icon and popular photographic target for visitors. The art collection is displayed around the winery grounds, in the courtyard entrance, and inside the tasting room and barrel cave. It will appeal to a variety of art tastes.
Wine distributor Wilson Daniels recently sent me a couple of bottles of Clos Pegase wines to review.
The 2009 Chardonnay is from Clos Pegase’s Mitsuko’s Vineyard in Carneros at the southern end of the Napa Valley near San Francisco Bay. This is a popular area for Chard due to the cooler temperatures. It is a malolactic wine aged 8 months in new and neutral French oak. These grapes are from the 4th year of low rainfall and the vines were a bit stressed.
We paired the Chard with Trader Joes chicken salad nested in grilled endives and grilled turkey and ham kabobs on our patio on a warm summer evening. The Chard has a big nose full of bouquet and aromas, full fruit with oak that compares with Rombaur. My nose picks out soft banana tones, which I love, but many people don’t seem to get that aroma. Whatever; you’ll find plenty to explore here and a very reasonable suggested retail price of $24.
Next up was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are from several vineyards around the winery and were aged 18 months in both new and neutral French oak. The winery is near Calistoga in the north and hotter end of Napa Valley. This is the heart of one of California’s most famous Cab regions and home of the big Napa Cabs. The lower rainfall stressed the vines and produced bigger favors than normal.
The tasting notes supplied by Clos Pegase speak of blackberry, plum, cherry, vanilla, baker’s spices and a hint of licorice. OK, maybe. We found a wonderful cherry chocolate with a big nose of aroma with refined fruits that open beautifully in the glass. Could we detect the specific aromas in the tasting notes? Yeah, sort of, but we actually don’t care. Too much work for us. What we tasted was a drop-dead terrific big Napa Cab with very modest tannins that followed up our light dinner as desert. While a retail price of $43 is a bit much for our limited and stretched budget, remember that developing WineQuesters.com and our iPhone app Winery Quest cost us over $1M in time and money, this Cab is worth it. It is a thrill to drink.
We pumped the air from the bottle and opened it the next evening. The wine was a little softer but still excellent. The flavors and aromas held up even without using argon gas to preserve them. Nice.