Friday, December 20, 2019

Philip Togni "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Philip Togni "Estate" Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

We pulled this Philip Togni "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet from the cellar for Friday night dinner at home with grilled steaks and baked potatoes to kick off the holiday week. 

This is Estate bottled, meaning all the grapes in the bottle were grown on the producer's own property vineyards or 'Estate'. This producer is on Spring Mountain but I admit we have missed it during our many trips to Spring Mountain District and are not familiar with the property. 

The property is near the top of the Mountain at 2000 foot elevation. There are 25 acres of vineyards that date back to 1981 - all Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc and Petit Verdot and all production in Estate sourced. Most of the 2000 case annual production is sold to a mailing list on a first-come basis with some offered in distribution in the US and in Europe. Cellar records indicate we have three vintages of this label in our cellar with this being the oldest at fourteen years.

Philip Togni is a former student of Emile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux where he earned a Diplôme National d’Oenologie while working as assistant Régisseur at Château Lascombes. Togni is joined by his wife Birgitta who specializes in the vineyard. They are joined recently by their daughter Lisa who has an MBA and has worked in the wine Trade working harvests at Château Léoville-Barton in Bordeaux and in Australia. 

This 2005 release was awarded 95 points by Vinous, 94 points by Decanter and John Gilman, 92 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, and 91 points by Steve Tanzer.

Very much Bordeaux style, Tanzer and Robert Parker say this may be a 30- to 40-year wine and should drink well through 2047. Tanzer says to hold it for a decade. Decanter says it is just beginning to enter its 'early plateau' of maturity and I wonder if we drank it too soon and should've waited perhaps a decade to appreciate it at its apex. 

I learned throughout the nineties that we drank much of our Bordeaux collection from the eighties far too soon. Decanter says that while it has the structure and depth to last, it isn't so big as to materially improve much further from this point, so perhaps we caught it at its peak. The fun and dilemma of aging wine in a cellar collection. 

Bright ruby colored, medium-full bodied, bright vibrant red and black berry fruits with notes of coffee bean, hints of cassis, cedar, leather and smoked meat, a touch of  menthol and smoky oak with bright acids finishing with firm tannins and good length. 

RM 91 points.