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Clos Pegase Mitsukos Vineyard Merlot Carneros 2001

Winemaker's Notes:

In Bordeaux, where many feel Merlot reaches its greatest expression, it is grown almost exclusively in those soils and microclimates that have proven too cool to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter being considered of greater concentration, tannin and keeping quality. With the recent phylloxera epidemic forcing wholesale replanting of much of the Napa Valley, the same trend in thought has inspired us to seek the cooler reaches of Napa when planting Merlot. This achieves two ends: First we save valuable land for the venerable Cabernet vines; and second, we return Merlot to its more native expression, one of pure red fruits and lightly, herbal, earthy tones as opposed to the more ponderous, jammy style one evokes in warmer climates. Mitsuko's Vineyard, in Carneros, provides us with clay slopes of varying aspect to try our hand at just such a classical style. Our Merlot is harvested quite late, relative to other sites in the Valley, as we await the subtle evolution of fruit and acid balance that is so difficult to precisely achieve in Merlot. Once the fruit is picked by hand, we gently destem the berries and transfer them to our fermentation tanks. Many of the lots undergo a saignée -- the "bleeding off" of a small percentage of the uncolored juice to concentrate the remaining must prior to fermentation. (Think of a chef reducing a sauce by removing some of the excess liquid). Typically the fruit is macerated cold for 5 to 7 days, where much of the color and primary fruit flavors steep into the must. The fermentations are completely native, and the wines are often pressed at dryness, with only a brief period of extended skin contact. Once pressed the wine is sent to French oak barrels, about 40% new, for malolactic fermentation and continued maturation, which usually takes about 20 months. During this time the wine is frequently topped off, and occasionally racked (separating the sediment from the wine) until we feel it is ready to be bottled without filtration. Redolent of red currants, raspberries and plum cherries with hints of mint and sous bois, our Merlot possesses the rich tannin structure and natural acidity to age and evolve in the more classic manner preferred by our Bordeaux brethren.

Region: USA » California » Napa » Carneros

Vintages

  • 2001

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Winery: Clos Pegase  
Color: Red
Varietal: Merlot
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Clos Pegase:
Clos Pegase is a celebration of the ancient marriage of wine and art. The winery's very name alludes to the Greek myth which tells us that the winged horse, Pegasus, unleashed the sacred Spring of the Muses, bringing life to the vines and inspiration to the poets. The Pegasus has also inspired the proprietors of Clos Pegase, Jan and Mitsuko Shrem, to assemble an important collection of 20th ce... Read more
Clos Pegase is a celebration of the ancient marriage of wine and art. The winery's very name alludes to the Greek myth which tells us that the winged horse, Pegasus, unleashed the sacred Spring of the Muses, bringing life to the vines and inspiration to the poets. The Pegasus has also inspired the proprietors of Clos Pegase, Jan and Mitsuko Shrem, to assemble an important collection of 20th century paintings, sculpture, and wine-related art and antiquities spanning 4,000 years which grace the Clos Pegase Winery, inside and out. Read less

Member Reviews for Clos Pegase Mitsukos Vineyard Merlot Carneros

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Snooth User: Mukuyu
12279592
5.00 5
02/22/2011

Five glasses



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In Bordeaux, where many feel Merlot reaches its greatest expression, it is grown almost exclusively in those soils and microclimates that have proven too cool to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter being considered of greater concentration, tannin and keeping quality. With the recent phylloxera epidemic forcing wholesale replanting of much of the Napa Valley, the same trend in thought has inspired us to seek the cooler reaches of Napa when planting Merlot. This achieves two ends: First we save valuable land for the venerable Cabernet vines; and second, we return Merlot to its more native expression, one of pure red fruits and lightly, herbal, earthy tones as opposed to the more ponderous, jammy style one evokes in warmer climates. Mitsuko's Vineyard, in Carneros, provides us with clay slopes of varying aspect to try our hand at just such a classical style. Our Merlot is harvested quite late, relative to other sites in the Valley, as we await the subtle evolution of fruit and acid balance that is so difficult to precisely achieve in Merlot. Once the fruit is picked by hand, we gently destem the berries and transfer them to our fermentation tanks. Many of the lots undergo a saignée -- the "bleeding off" of a small percentage of the uncolored juice to concentrate the remaining must prior to fermentation. (Think of a chef reducing a sauce by removing some of the excess liquid). Typically the fruit is macerated cold for 5 to 7 days, where much of the color and primary fruit flavors steep into the must. The fermentations are completely native, and the wines are often pressed at dryness, with only a brief period of extended skin contact. Once pressed the wine is sent to French oak barrels, about 40% new, for malolactic fermentation and continued maturation, which usually takes about 20 months. During this time the wine is frequently topped off, and occasionally racked (separating the sediment from the wine) until we feel it is ready to be bottled without filtration. Redolent of red currants, raspberries and plum cherries with hints of mint and sous bois, our Merlot possesses the rich tannin structure and natural acidity to age and evolve in the more classic manner preferred by our Bordeaux brethren.

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