Highlights of PNV16, held in mid-February at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, not only include Premiere’s rare and collectible barrel samples but also bottled wines available in the market now. Here is a look at what our local vintners were pouring at Premiere 2016:
— Barnett Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District
Dark berry fruit, pungent spice and violet floral, with just a touch of sweet baking spice — are all wonderfully interwoven in this very complex “wow” wine.
— Stony Hill Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay, Spring Mountain District
Always a stunner no matter the vintage, the 2010 Stony Hill has gorgeous complexity — pear fruit and an earthy, mineral flavor that is an unmatchable signature for the winery.
— Foretell 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District
Terra Valentine proprietor and winemaker Sam Baxter has the magic touch, coming out with yet another dark-fruited, structured (yet approachable) wine under the new label, Foretell. The name is an old English word for “journey,” where budbreak, harvest and the entire winemaking cycle “foretells” the future of the wine in the bottle.
— Entre Nous 2014 “Secret Acre” Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville
This Premiere lot may be tight now, but its beautiful violet floral and dark berry flavors should open up nicely as the wine ages and the tannins soften with time. This is just one of the many wines touched by star vintner Philippe Melka.
— BOND 2012 St. Eden Napa Valley
Sometimes, a wine stops the flow of the pen — a wine so seamless that its black fruits and spicy oak flavors are so fluidly entwined that there is no end and no beginning. You just know you need to pay attention. This Bill Harlan wine is a showstopper.
— Far Niente 2010 Cave Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville
Far Niente’s 2010 cab is an incredible mix of dark berry fruit, pungent spice, smoky toastiness and balancing acidity that makes this not just a good sipping wine, but one of those truly great and memorable wines.
— Joseph Phelps Insignia 2012 Napa Valley
The 2012 Insignia has a gorgeous nose of red and dark fruits with pungent and sweet spice that is all wonderfully integrated. This is an icon that has not lost its touch.
— Sequoia Grove 2012 Tonella Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A personal favorite from the Premiere tasting events, held Friday, Feb. 19, Sequoia Grove has a vineyard and cellar dream team that includes another icon of the valley, Steve Allen, with wine director Michael Trujillo and winemaker Molly Hill. The wine has incredible balance and beautifully combines blackberry fruit and an earthiness that includes a touch of forest floor. This is a wine that you keep judging others against once it has passed your lips.
— J. Davies Estate 2012 “Jamie” Cabernet Sauvignon
The first release of a very special wine. Deliciously fresh dark blackberry fruit is perfectly interwoven with oak spice and toast. This is a wine for every Napa Valley cab lover out there.
Last but certainly not least is a wine that shows, proof positive, that Napa Valley chardonnay ages well. Really well. Trefethen’s 1994 Chardonnay was a stunner, showing great freshness along with rich pear fruit and spice. If you have this in your cellar, you are very lucky indeed.
Catherine Bugue, the Star’s tasting panel columnist, loves writing about — and drinking — wine. You can contact Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.