Clos Pegase2002 Merlot, Mitsuko’s Vineyard
(Carneros ~ Los Carneros)
I’m pleased to see this type of wine – old-world style from the new world – now emerging from the Napa Valley with ever more frequency. Also, those prescient growers who have been saying that the Carneros is the right place in the Napa Valley to grow Merlot are being proven right.
The fruit – raspberry and strawberry – doesn’t seem overly ripe, which is typical of a cool growing region. I’m also happy to note that winemaker Shaun Richardson held onto the wine for an extra year before releasing it, allowing for all of its elements to settle in. Even at that, it still needs some time in bottle. The color is almost a brickish opaque and on the palate, the wine exhibits excellent balance. It’ll age, I’m sure, for at least another eight years.
Mitsuko’s Vineyard, the source of the Merlot, comprises 365 acres with vines whose average age is 10 years. The other component – the Cab Franc (1 percent) – came from Clos Pegase’s Home Ranch Vineyard south of Calistoga. The wine was aged for 16 months in French barrels, 35 percent of which were new. The listed alcohol is 14.4 percent. There were a little more than 1,100 cases produced, and the price is very right.
Reviewed September 18, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.