Two weeks ago I had an appointment to taste with Peter Cargasacchi in Lompoc – more about his own labels' wonderful wines later. He also surprised me with a wine from Morgan Clendenen, the newly released, 2009 Cold Heaven “Sanford & Benedict Vineyard” Sta. Rita Hills Viognier, MSRP $37.
Ms. Clendenen was recently featured in a piece in the Wall Street Journal,
“New and Old Worlds Meet in Decadent Viogniers”
Since this particular cuvée was not included, I’ll share a tasting note for how it evolved in the glass and with and without food. First impression was a very restrained, not overtly fruity, mostly minerally, petrichor nose. I reached for the bottle to check the alcohol level . . . 13.5%, and that’s how it felt on the palate, quite a bit shyer than riper styles. At refrigerator temperature, the vibrant acidity and closed down fruit left a clean, taut impression, ending in a citrusy aftertaste. While I could appreciate the style, it was too lean and subtle for my taste. At this point, I would have rated it as VERY GOOD.
I was eating a warm mushroom salad topped with blue cheese and toasted hazelnuts, and tried it with a bite. The cheese popped out more stone fruit flavors in the wine as well as broadening it on the palate. The wine displayed more in the nose as it lost the chill, yet, it was still quite spare.
At this point, Cargasacchi recorked the bottle and gave it a good shake to aerate the wine vigorously theb repoured for me. Ah, now we’re talking. He explained that it had been bottled just two weeks ago and seemed shut down to him. More aroma was released as well as new fruit expression on the palate. Stone fruit and floral joined grapefruit in the cocktail, and the wine picked up weight and more dimension in the mouth. It continued to get better in the glass, suggesting that the wine will benefit from some short term bottle age to harmonize and evolve. My final rating pegs it as EXCELLENT Plus.
Cold Heaven Cellars
“The Tables Have Turned”