Aged in French oak (50% new) for 18½ months, the wine offers pronounced notes of ripe black cherries, French plums and cassis that are nicely complemented by violets, baking spices, hints of cocoa and pipe tobacco. Dense, yet finely knit, with refined tannins and balanced acidity.
Clos Pegase grows Cabernet Sauvignon at our 40-acre Palisades Vineyard, nestled at the base of Mt. St. Helena, and the spare plot known as Graveyard Hill in Carneros. Both these vineyards, despite their dramatic climatic differences, share well-drained, rocky terrain that stress and concentrate the resulting berries.
Little effort is required to extract the deep black color and lush tannin structure that are the birthright of these wines. Vinified with natural yeast, and left to macerate for several weeks on their dense skins, the resulting wines reflect the opulence and fine minerality that derives from their light yielding and exacting soils. After a long fermentation with the skin and seeds, the free-run juice is extracted and run off into small French barriques for two years or more of cellar age.
The press wines are collected and sold in bulk, as the long maceration renders these wines too rustic to be blended into our Clos Pegase bottlings. Smaller aliquots of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot from our estate vineyards may be judiciously added to spice the palate or perfume the aromatic profile of our Cabernet blends.
Ultimately, it is the alchemy of blending that is the signature of these wines. We are blessed in being able to blend richly tannic, naturally acidic Cabernet from Graveyard Hill with the preciously aromatic, but shorter, broader-textured wines of Palisades. Here, the sum is truly greater than the parts.
(89% Cabernet Sauvignon/10% Cabernet Franc/1% Petit Verdot). Fruit from the Graveyard Hill block (38%) in Carneros, Tenma Vineyard (32%), Applebone Vineyard (19%) and Dunaweal Vineyard (11%) in Calistoga was vinified separately and racked twice, once after malolactic and again before blending.