Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tasting in Napa Valley: Clos Pegase Winery

If you ever go to Napa, Clos Pegase Winery is worth a stop, not just for the wines, which are more oriented toward the European style than other California wineries, but also for the art work. Before you even make it to the front door, you encounter more original pieces of public sculpture than you find in cities such as Chicago or Detroit. Inside, you will find a major collection of paintings, sculpture and wine-related art and antiquities, including works by Henry Moore, Dali and Francis Bacon.

Several tastings are available; the estate tasting ($20) gives a good view of the winery's style. The 2010 Carneros Estate Sauvignon Blanc has a passion fruit quality I like in Sauvignon Blanc along with citrus and a nice mineral element. The oak is much less intrusive than in Sauvignons from other estates I visited.

The 2008 Pinot Noir also comes from Mitsuko's Vineyard in Carneros. I smell wild strawberries initially, but this is not a lighter-styled Pinot. Dark cherries, vanilla and spices come through on the palate. At $35 a bottle, this is a pretty good value compared to Anderson Valley Pinots I tasted. But you can get a lot of red Burgundy for that price.

The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc is soft and accessible with bright red fruits and a medium weight. The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a more serious wine, oriented toward black cherries, plums and cassis. There are also some floral tones and fine tannins that give it a European feel. It has spent 18 months in French oak, but I doubt that all of it was new wood.

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