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January 20, 2015

Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2012

togni

While the Burgundy 2013 en primeur campaign is merrily rolling along, we wanted to interrupt it briefly to offer a truly special new release from the stunning 2012 Napa Valley vintage. The 2012, together with the 2013 vintage in Napa, both offer perfect growing seasons and the top wines emerging will be considered all time classics, with parallels being drawn to the 2009 and 2010 vintages in Bordeaux. Parker claims, ‘Both vintages are clearly the two greatest years for North Coast Bordeaux varietals – and probably Chardonnay as well – since the wonderful duo of 2001 and 2002.’ The wines from the 2012 vintage in particular are classically Napa, with ripe, intense fruit and well integrated tannins, even at this early stage in their lifecycles Parker says, ‘It is nearly impossible to find a 2012 that is not showing well’. Much like the 2009 Bordeaux vintage these wines are stunning now while having the acidity and alcohol present to be enjoyed for decades to come.

We are delighted to offer our first release of Philip Togni’s wines, the 97 point 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. His flagship wine is produced from a minuscule 10 acre vineyard 2,000 ft above sea level on Spring Mountain in the hills above Saint Helena. Philip along with his wife and daughter first planted vines in 1981, with their first vintage produced in 1983. Since the beginning, the focus has been on Bordeaux blends with the feminine Merlot dominant Margaux appellation providing considerable inspiration. Philip, more so than perhaps any Napa Valley winemaker, is eminently qualified to go head-to-head with the great chateaux of Bordeaux. He received his oenology degree from the prestigious university of Bordeaux, before training under the first and most famous ‘super-consultant’, Emile Peynaud.

The result of the family’s considerable experience and their prime vineyards are consistently superb, long-lived terroir driven wines. The high altitude of the vineyard offers the exposure to the sun giving intense fruit typical of the Napa Valley, while minimally interfering with the vines to allow them to use the ecosystem that surrounds them as they please.

Parker bestowed one of his greatest honours on the Philip Togni by including the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon as one of only 17 Napa Valley wines in his book, The World’s Greatest Wine Estates. Despite the world-wide interest, Togni’s defiance of modern Napa Valley winemaking is also evident when it comes to the trend of increased release prices and he insists on offering his wine at £675 per 12×75 case or £56.25 per bottle. One would expect to pay at least three times the price for similar scoring wines of the vintage. By releasing at this price, Togni also rewards the loyalty of his perennial customers as new vintages soon soar in value, it pays to secure these wines en primeur:

Table

This year’s blend represents 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, making it a quintessentially left bank Bordeaux blend style. However, unlike its Bordeaux left bank peers production is minuscule and talks to the fastidious focus of the wines, with only 1,400 cases made in the 2012 vintage. The quality is echoed in tastings, notably a blind panel tasting held in Brussels where the 1990 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate outscored the legendary 1990 vintages of Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion and Mouton Rothschild. It is fair to say this is a Cabernet giant with tremendous ageing potential of 30 years plus, yet like 2009 Bordeaux can be drunk with immense pleasure after two years in bottle. This is not to be missed!

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