An evening with Clos Pegase's 2008 Mitsukos's Chardonnay

Hey everyone near and far I want to bring another Chardonnay to your attention, this represents the 2nd wine that I've had from this producer and I'm happy to to say, I'm very pleased with it's great taste and complexity.

These terms don't have to be mutually exclusive, but many would like you to think so. Clos Pegase has produced another very good wine for not a lot of money, which in my book is a very good thing and I know you maybe thinking, "geez, Bill you are on a real "Chard-kick" these days" well it would seem that way if you've read my last few reviews, but it's far from the truth. That said,  its just that certain recipes cry-out for nothing but a French-oaked Chard and this timely [in terms of it's current availibility] review on another Chardonnay has found it's way onto my review slate, well ahead of some of the samples I've received.

What to Pair: So whilst shopping the other day, [as I am the chief cook and bottle washer] I picked up some fresh Tilapia for a great [simple] recipe, a Lime Cilantro Marinade which I had fish swimming in all day, prior to throwing them into the oven in the evening. Then I prepared some fresh steamed Brocoli and a tasty Alfredo sauce with ricotta stuffed pasta shells, man this meal was fantastic. I was not sure about pairing the Chardonnay with my somewhat spicy Marinade, but I relented and opened it and oh-man just a match made in heaven. But hey don't take my word for go out and try it for yourself, you won't be disappointed. This is a very simple meal to put together and very light fare, just a couple of the stuffed shells per person and the sauce is highly adaptable to varying degrees of flavor, so feel free to experiment [I always do].

About the Winery: "Just down the road from the town of Calistoga, there is a crossroads. It's the intersection of wine and art. And at that crossroads, you'll find something rare and remarkable: balance." this quote from their website is not just mere PR hype, but so far with two different bottles drank, evaluated and reviewed it would appear to be all so right on point. They [Clos Pegase] have struck a balance in their winemaking approach and we the consumers are reaping the rewards of that balance with each swirl, sniff and sip. According to their website; "Their estate is located at both ends of the Napa Valley, where nature and science have come together to create one of the finest wine-producing regions of the world." Their estate comprises 455 acres, of which 90 are in the Calistoga area, known for its ripe, jammy reds, and the balance are in cool Carneros to the south, where the valley meets the San Francisco Bay.

Their Motto: "Rather than bending our wines to meet our whims, we let the vineyards be our guides, and we do our best to capture and reflect their distinctive personalities in the glass." or in other words, "the essence of terroir is what they celebrate" to which I say, Viva La Terroir!

First Swirl: After removing what Clos Pegase call's the wine-and-people friendly Stelvin closure, and pouring it into my glass, I observed that it had a golden hue core, followed by a straw colored rim, medium in body and appearance.

First Sniff: Stuffing my half-Irish nose into the glass, I found nectarine, peach notes swirling around and delightfully impacting my god-given sensory apparatus. Aromas of fresh baked-bread coming from the 8 months of Sur Lie treatment [if you like this Sur-Lie, the be on look for others like it]. which are deftly balanced against a backdrop of toasted French oak.

First Sip: Displaying all the wonderfulness of a Carneros Chardonnay, this wine chock full of Asian pears, and nectarines, sprinkled with toasty spices, a nice touch of oak and lees gives this wine a rich edge of creaminess and complexity, which is balanced by crisp mouth-watering acidity. Still very young and youthful, could use a couple years in the cellar to further develop it's complex characteristics, most likely even better in 2012, thinking in November right before we are supposed disappear off the face of the globe.

Composition and ABV: This wine is 100% Chardonnay and the fruits come from various blocks which includes: Clos Pegase's heritage clones, which form the core of the blend, Wente clones for weight and acidity, Atlas Peak [btw, the view is fantastic] for tropical notes, and Rued for lifted aromatics. Equally significant are the Dijon clones which are broad, rich and complex. This wine weighed in at a mere 13.9% abv, which is perfect for a weekday quaff.

The Vineyards: Mitsuko’s Vineyard, located south of Highway 121 in the cooler part of Napa Carneros, has proved to have an abundance of ideal sites for the Burgundian varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Purchased as bare land in 1989, Clos Pegase has continued to refine its plantings to maximize the vineyard's potential.

Other Voices: Okay here we go, I know my little opinion about what wine is or isn't fantastic matters little in comparison to the giants of the printed-word on wine, that's why I always include one of their opinions to add weight to my review and demonstrate that I'm not just schilling for Clos Pegase [which I'm not] and this was no sample, it was purchased with my very limited [my wife say's "as if"] wine budget. The Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, had this say about their 2007 vintage "Highly aromatic and relying on its blossomy fruit as its first order of business with sympathetic oak providing rich support, this one is bright and alive from first sniff to lasting aftertaste. Its under-lying notes of sweet limes, Fuji apples and a light dollop of toast leave little to the imagination, and while there is plenty of acidity for aging, the wine is engagingly tasty and open even now and makes no demands for cellaring." - Charles Olken gave it 92 points.

Where to Purchase and Price: Okay San Diego Wine fans here's the best part, this wine is currently available at one my favorite Wine Stores in this market, which again if you are not familiar, is located on Miramar Road between the I-805 and the I-15 corridors, which means it's centrally located for the majority of San Diegans. The San Diego Wine Company is selling this wine for a paupers price of $14.95 nearly a full $10 lower than the tasting room price of $24.00 and lower than the price of many online wine purveyors, who will also charge a heft price for shipping it to your door. So if you don't have the good fortune of living here in San Diego, well then next lowest price I've seen online is $17.95, but those shipping charges will ratchet the price upward and those out state taxes can be a bummer when you add it to the final cost.

With/without Food: As I mentioned above this wine paired fantastically with the Tilapia I prepared the other night, but I am sure there are many other entrees this wine would pair with marvelously. It also achieves a nod to the "stand-alone" sipper tag as this wine would make a great cocktail wine for any get-together occasion. The balance a wine requires to be both is no easy task and is a fact which should not be viewed lightly.

Cuvée Corner Wine Blog Score: Hey point seekers here's my score if your interested: This wine scored 93 points on the Cuvee Corner 100 point scale and as you may have guessed the QPR is "off the hook" [do people still say that?] fantastic.

My Recommendations: Folks honestly you are not going to get much better of a wine, and in this case a Carneros style Chardonnay for a better price than this, it represents a screaming deal. So run don't and get your happy little-self over their and buy some of this wine and by the way they [SDWC] will ship it to you providing you live in a non-Byzantine state. Otherwise if you are from San Diego and you love a well made Carneros style Chardonnay, don't delay any further get over there and buy yourself some [or acquire online]. I'd start with 6, three to drink now and three to hide in your cellar for further development.


Unknown said…
What a wonderful post, beautifully written. It captures these wines so well.
Unknown said…
We've been fans and club members for a few years. Clos Pegase consistently produce outstanding wines year in and out. One of the unsung greats of Napa. Cult quality wines at consumer prices. What is not to like? As was said, run, don't walk. At that discount, better get a case. Ours disappeared too soon.
Rick and Helen
Will Eyer said…
Thank Beth, I hope you will give their wines a swirl, cheers!
Will Eyer said…
Hey Rick n Helen, thank you for stopping by, I also reviewed their Cabernet Sauvignon and was really impressed, so picking up a bottle of their Chardonnay was easy for me and I look forward to tasting through the rest of their line-up. I've heard the Pinot Noir is also fantastic, what's your favorite?
ThingsAll2Good said…
I actually toured this winery back in the day .... I fell in love with the winery and the wine. This is my favorite and it's always my Birthday celebration wine! ... which is coming up next month! yeah me! ;) Great post!
Will Eyer said…
Hey Jen, I'll be in area this coming Sept. and will definitely have to stop by Clos Pegase one of Napa's hidden treasures by way of Calistoga, did you visit the hot springs? Got a B-day coming up huh? Well you'll have to open something fantastic, so will it be your 29th? Cheers to you and thanks for stopping by!

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