Clos Pegase Winery Carneros Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Clos Pegase WINEMAKER’S RESERVE Carneros, Napa Valley Chardonnay 2012
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
REGION: Carneros, Napa Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.50%
I first met Jan Shrem, the founder of Clos Pegase, about 12 years ago. Jan and I attended many wine events together including consumer samplings, wine festivals, in-store tastings, visits at his winery and even a Clos Pegase wine member cruise to Spain. “Clos Pegase” is named for an enclosed vineyard and the winged horse of Greek mythology. The winery was founded in 1983 and the spectacular architecture commissioned by Michael Graves was completed in 1987. This wine is mainly from their flagship Mitsuko’s vineyard (named after Jan’s wife) and their best barrels, which makes for a dynamic and beautiful Reserve taste profile. Having sampled both this Winemaker’s Reserve and the Hommage Chardonnay, I much prefer this style of wine as the other is just too creamy and fat while this wine is more refreshing and appealing - it strikes just the right balance. The wine spent 9 months in French oak, 35% of which was new. Fresh cut white flowers, pear, lemon zest and white peach on the nose. A nice mix of tropical and citrus fruits including Bartlett pear, apricot, white peach and apple with tangerine and Meyer lemon. Lots of ripe fruit with good acidity and nicely balanced with a pleasing finish. Pair with grilled scallops, escargots, shrimp scampi, mussels, raw oysters, soft shell crabs or Dover Sole.
By Clos Pegase Winery
Chardonnay 2012 Napa Carneros
SO2: 30/90 F/T
Aging: 60% barrel fermented and sur lees aging for 9 months.
Tasting Notes: Bright Apple, juicy pear, cream brulee on the finish.
This wine is fueled by Mitsuko’s Vineyard, 365 acres in the Los Carneros appellation within the Napa Valley. The rolling land of this vineyard has a broad range of soil types, elevations, slopes, and aspects which create countless distinct microclimates. After careful study, eleven different grape varieties were planted at this vineyard utilizing every bit of its diversity. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are commonly found in Los Carneros and are the keys to the region’s notoriety. In Mitsuko’s Vineyard these varieties have ideal cooling breezes blowing in from the San Pablo Bay which create the slow, balanced growing season these varieties need to build complexity. After examining the soil of the vineyard before planting, it was discovered that a section of the vineyard was Haire clay-loam similar to the make up of the Right Bank of Bordeux, famous for making some of the best Merlot in the world. This section of the vineyard was planted to a unique blend of Merlot clones well suited for this climate. Next to it is a section known as Graveyard Hill with its own unique rocky, well-drained soil and an aspect that maximizes sun exposure making it ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon, a rare sight in Los Carneros.
-Dijon clones: 76, 95, 96, 548, & 809
-UCD clones: 04, 17
-Massale selections: Old Wente, Atlas Peak Weimer, Robert Young
-100% barrel fermented in 33% new French oak. 100% malolactic fermented
Richard Sowalsky, Winemaker
Richard Sowalsky has extensive winemaking experience and a diverse educational background that includes enology, medicine and the culinary arts. As winemaker for Clos Pegase, Sowalsky relies on all of this to create estate wines of the highest quality. Sowalsky’s previous winemaking position was at Tetra and Expression Wine, brands of Hill & Wollack Wine Estates. Prior to his tenure with Hill & Wollack, he spent two years as the winemaker at William Hill Estate and six years at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville as associate winemaker for the Bordeaux varieties. Before joining Mondavi, Sowalsky was a research enologist for Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge Winery in Lodi, production assistant at Handley Cellars in Philo, California, and harvest assistant at Truchard Vineyards in Napa. With a vision of winemaking as a journey involving many potential paths from grape to glass, Sowalsky assumes the role of trailblazer - delineating the ideal path from start to finish. “My approach to winegrowing begins as an intensive learning process in the vineyard; then, I adapt all of my winemaking to realize the full potential of each site in the finished wine,” Sowalsky states. Sowalsky’s education includes attending Temple University Fox School of Business and Management, the Viticulture and Enology program at University of California at Davis, University of Maryland School of Medicine, California Culinary Academy and Amherst College. When not making wine or walking rows of vines, Sowalsky enjoys scuba diving, world travel, hiking and reading.
[Info provided by J.H.N.]