USa: Northern California Part Two
"The first perfect score I've given to Pahlmeyer." Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate, Issue 228, December 2016
2013 Pahlmeyer Cabernet Sauvignon Pièce de Résistance
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Pièce De Résistance is a selection of the five best barrels in the wine cellar, aged in 100% Taransaud cooperage. The first perfect score I’ve given to Pahlmeyer – but highly deserving – this is a masterpiece of gorgeous crème de cassis, blackberry liqueur, forest floor, camphor, charcoal and white flowers, magnificent concentration, wonderfully subtle oak, and a finish of close to a minute. In short, Cabernet Sauvignon rarely gets any better than this, but latching onto a bottle or two will not be easy. Drink it over the next 30-40 years.
2013 Pahlmeyer Cabernet Sauvignon Raison D'Etre
Nearly its match is the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Raison d’Etre, a blend of 100% estate fruit consisting of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. There is more of this to go around the country – 200 cases. There is not much difference in power, massive extract, richness, length and profound aromatics and flavors, as this is just a prodigious wine. Perhaps the dosage of Merlot gives this more chocolate and espresso than the Pièce De Résistance, but it is a stunningly big, thick, juicy wine that somehow maintains balance and delineation. Drink it over the next 35+ years.
2013 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red Wine
An absolute stunner is the 2013 Proprietary Red Wine, a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Malbec and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This is all mountain fruit from primarily the Stagecoach Vineyard and another site in Rancho Chimiles. Beautiful floral, smoky, blackcurrant notes mixed with acacia flowers and forest floor jump from the glass of this dense, full-bodied, concentrated and age-worthy wine. Like most 2013s, this is a 30-year wine with remarkable concentration, color and fruit extract. Forget it for another 3-4 years, and drink it over the following 30+ years.
2013 Pahlmeyer Merlot
An absolute epic wine is the 2013 Merlot, a blend of 95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot. It is no wimpy wine either, with the natural alcohol slightly north of 15%. A gorgeous nose including roasted espresso, melted black chocolate, blackberry, plum and cassis offers an exceptional set of aromatics. The wine has beautiful ripeness, headiness and a long finish of close to 45+ seconds. This is a beauty of terrific purity, texture and personality. Few California Merlots will ever be capable of equaling this. Drink it over the next 25-30+ years.
2015 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay
The 2015 Chardonnay, which comes from both Old Wente and Dijon clones, is off the estate property on Atlas Peak. It has that noteworthy greenish hue to its light-gold color, which I consider a high-sign of quality. Orange blossom, tangerine oil, mango, subtle smoky wood, a full-bodied texture, terrific purity and acidity, great fruit and a long, long finish are the stuff of great California Chardonnay. This cuvée also has a phenomenal track record for aging for at least 7-10 years, and in certain vintages even longer.
2013 Pahlmeyer Estate Vineyard Malbec
The 2013 Pahlmeyer Estate Vineyard Malbec has that rather kinky blueberry and floral note with licorice, incense, grapefruit on the attack and a long, long finish. It is a winner, if you love Malbec.