Clos Pegase Merlot Carneros Mitsuko's Vineyard 2005
With "feet of clay" our meticulously tended vines issue forth, each year, from restrained yields, this perfumed and intensely concentrated Chardonnay. The vines shiver through foggy mornings waiting for the afternoon sun to warm them sufficiently to ripen their bounty. When autumn arrives, each bunch is hand-picked at night to preserve its freshness and delivered cool and healthy to the winery. Here we eschew destemming and crushing in favor of whole cluster pressing, a laborious but extremely gentle process of separating the juice from its skins, avoiding the bitter tannins that might otherwise be extracted. The freshly squeezed juice is then drained to French oak barrels where it will remain until assemblage and bottling some 10 months later. No yeasts are added to the new juice as we prefer the complexity and individuality provided by the indigenous, or "wild" yeasts that convert the sugar to alcohol. The secondary fermentation, converting the hard malic acid to the softer lactic, is completed by a cultured bacteria imported from Burgundy. Although native malo-lactic fermentation is an option, we find it lends too much bitterness to the wine, and we prefer our Chardonnay to retain its unique purity of fruit, and long, cleansing finish. To broaden the palate and mouth-feel of the wine we employ battonage, a technique that involves stirring the yeast lees in each barrel on a regular basis. By keeping the lees in suspension the wine's pure fruit character is guarded against oxidation and the wine seems to put on some weight, or "fatness," as well as being less astringent and sharp. But finally, it is the vineyard's inherent aromatic and taste persona, such as nectarine, white peach and acacia blossom that infuses the wine with its distinctive flavors. To fully capture these traits we decant the wine off its lees and, after a gentle clay fining, we bottle the wine unfiltered. These simple, traditional and time-honored techniques are our way of delivering the purest expression of Mitsuko's Vineyard Chardonnay, capturing in bottle the dramatic nuances intrinsic to each vintage.
Tasted at the winery 9/20/0
External Reviews for Clos Pegase Merlot Carneros Mitsuko's Vineyard
Dark, rich and focused, with a pretty array of currant, blackberry, cedar and earth tones that combine to give it complexity and depth, with a beefy edge. Drink now through 2008.
Medium weight, with spicy black cherry, cedar and currant notes of modest depth and proportion. Finishes with mild tannins and hints of anise. Drink now through 2006.
This is the kind of Merlot that shows how well Carneros can ripen the variety. It's a big, rich wine, almost fat in gooey black cherry, mocha and anise flavors, but is fortunately balanced with rich, furry tannins. It's a bit soft, but very tasty.
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Captures in style the personality of the vintage. Wines from this harvest are typically ripe, robust and very forward with lots of showy fruit flavors and soft, friendly tannins. Clos Pegase is one of the first producers of Carneros Merlot and this wine amply demonstrates the advantages of growing Merlot in a cooler climate, where shallow soils and long "hang-time" produce wines of great depth and balance.
Captures in style the personality of the vintage - ripe, robust and very forward with lots of showy fruit flavors and soft, friendly tannins. It's 100% estate grown, primarily from Mitsuko's Vineyard in Carneros, but blended with a small percentage sourced from their Home Ranch in Calistoga. It is 98% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 20 months in French oak, then bottled unfiltered to retain all of its flavor. Clos Pegase is one of the first producers of Carneros Merlot and this wine amply demonstrates the advantages of growing Merlot in a cooler climate, where shallow soils and long "hang-time" produce wines of great depth and balance.
The dark ruby-colored 1997 Merlot is far better than the 1996. One can see Ted Lemon's hand in the fatter, richer, more textured and layered mid-palate. This plump wine reveals berry fruit intermixed with chocolate and notes of underbrush. The wine's excellent finish exhibits well-integrated wood and lower acidity that the tart 1996. The 1997 should drink well for 5-7 years.