Nearing the Summit
2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignons approach 2007’s stellar quality
James Laube, The Wine Spectator
Issue: November 15, 2011
Of the dozens of 2007 Napa Cabernets released over the past year…many other highly rated Cabernets, show off the vintage's range and depth of flavor. Phifer Pavitt Date Night (94, $75)…sell(ing) for less than $100.
A Cab That Stands Apart - 93 Points
Phifer Pavitt, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Date Night” 2007 ($75): Wine names can be misleading. I had a bottle of this Cabernet kicking around for a few months and maybe would never have gotten around to tasting it, had my husband (a.k.a. house sommelier) not presented it to me blind. My issue had been the name, “Date Night.” Another “lifestyle” brand, I thought, remnants of “Little Black Dress,” “White Lie” and similar female-directed names stuck uncomfortably in my mental craw. But in fact this is a serious wine. And seriously commendable.
One Bottle Post: 07 Phifer Pavitt Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon
96 Eve points
I’ve been drinking Phifer Pavit Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon for about five years. The first time I tasted it, I wasn’t out on a Date Night, but at a fundraiser in a private home in the Hollywood Hills. It was the stellar wine of the evening, and it still rates a minimum 95 Eve Points every year.
RED WINES -
CABERNETS & BLENDS
Phifer Pavitt 2007 Date Night
Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley).
This is an elaborately constructed
wine, rich in fruit and tannins, and far better than
the rather ordinary 2006. But it’s nowhere near
ready to drink now. Erupts with ripe, juicy blackberries,
black cherries, minerals and sweet cassis.
The grapes are from the Pope Valley region. Very
big, bold and dramatic, but immature. Hold for a
good six years.
Cellar Selection. —S.H. - See April issue...
The Wine Spectator - Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Date Night 2007
Release Price: $75
Issue: Web Only - 2011
This gorgeous wine—the best yet from this producer—is sumptuous, graceful, rich and fleshy, with ripe blueberry, plum and wild berry fruit that's dense, elegant, focused and layered. Full-bodied, ending with a long, lingering finish. Drink now through 2022. 400 cases made. –JL
Read More - Wine Spectator Insider
AND CABERNET BLENDS
1. 2007 Phifer Pavitt, “Date Night,” Napa Valley ($75) –
Medium-dark ruby color; attractive, intense, cedary, cassis
and blackberry fruit aroma with a note of mocha and hints of
mint and graphite; full body; forward, rich, plush, plummy,
cedary, dark cherry and blackberry fruit flavors with a note of
graphite and a creamy mouthfeel; well balanced and firmly
structured for near term drinking enjoyment; medium-full to
full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very appealing to taste now
and also has good bottle aging potential. Very highly recommended.
14.8% alcohol; 372 cases; blended with 3% Petit
Verdot (PV); released December 2010. (Group Score: 16.6 of
20 points, 7 of 12 first-place votes/4 seconds/0 thirds; My
Score: 17 [90 of 100 points], fourth place).
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Posted by Fredric Koeppel
What could be more straightforward than that? Not that all lists aren’t arbitrary in some degree, but after going through all the posts from 2010 on this blog several times and doing some cogitating and sighing and reluctant winnowing, here they are, The 50 Best Wines of 2010, as experienced by me and written about last year. Wines that I tasted in 2010 but haven’t written about yet will not show up on this list, nor will older vintages that I was lucky enough to taste, which I do damned little enough anyway. The order is wines I rated Exceptional, alphabetically, followed by wines I rated Excellent, alphabetically. Where I think such factors might be helpful, I list percentages of grapes and, for limited edition wines, the case production, if I know it. Prices begin at about $25 and go up to $200, with most, however, in the $30s, $40s and $50s.
<>Phifer Pavitt Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley. 275 cases. Exceptional. About $75.
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Posted by Fredric Koeppel under Cabernet sauvignon , California
Geography counts, in war and in wine. The locations, the microclimates or terroirs where the cabernet sauvignon grape achieves greatness are few, through the grape is grown around the world. The Left Bank communes of Bordeaux qualify, of course, though there cabernet sauvignon is blended with merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. Small pockets of Tuscany; parts of the Yarra Valley and Coonawarra in Australia; Maipo and Aconcagua in Chile (potentially); and California, where the modern wine industry was defined by the success of wines based on the cabernet sauvignon grape, and not only based but in many cases made completely from cabernet. California’s wine regions are incredibly diverse and varied, and cabernet sauvignon is grown, for good or ill, throughout the state. The most appropriate areas, however, remain the Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley in Sonoma County; Oakville, Rutherford and Stags Leap and the mountain vineyards of Napa Valley; Paso Robles and Santa Cruz.
This brief survey serves as prelude to examinations of two wonderful wines, one 98 percent cabernet sauvignon, the other 100 percent varietal, and both second release wines for their labels. The first is fashioned from a vineyard in a rather obscure area of Napa Valley, the second from high elevation vineyards on the western side of the Mayacamas range.
Sometimes you take a sip of wine into your mouth and think, “Oh, yes. This is real. This is it.” Such was my reaction to the first release of the Phifer Pavitt “Date Night” Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2005, and such also was my impression of the second release, the 2006. The grapes derive from the all-organic Temple Family Vineyards in Pope Valley, a small and lightly populated appellation north of Howell Mountain in the extreme northeast of the Napa Valley. Though shoe-horned into its famous neighbor, as far as the federal viticultural boundaries are concerned, geographically, Pope Valley faces the opposite direction, draining away to the east and Lake Berryessa. Pope Valley is home to the Dollarhide Ranch, which supplies St. Supery with cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc grapes, and, coincidentally, to the must-see folk-art environment, Litto’s Hubcab Ranch. The Phifer Pavitt winery itself, owned by Shane Pavitt and Suzanne Phifer Pavitt, is on the Silverado Trail near Calistoga. Winemaker is Ted Osborne.
Date Night 2006 is not merely profound but profoundly huge, and I don’t mean in an overwhelming sense — the alcohol content is 14.7 percent — but huge in vibrancy and resonance, tremendous in its presence and immediacy. Though the wine on the surface is placid and approachable, one feels in the depth a sense of implicit turbulence, that “tiger burning bright, in the forests of the night,” though a more appropriate feline, considering the wine’s opacity, would be a black panther. Macerated black currants, black raspberries and plum distinguish a bouquet that rests lightly on notes of briers and brambles and that gradually unfurls hints of ancho chile, bitter chocolate and potpourri. What feels like an infinite mesh of finely-grained tannins envelopes every principle here while sharing the power, triumvirate-wise, with slightly spicy, slightly toasty oak – these are nuances — and vivacious acidity. (The wine spends 17 months in French oak barrels, 65 percent new; the wine contains two percent petit verdot.) A few minutes in the glass allow a dark tide of graphite-like minerally its encompassing influence. Obviously there’s terrific emphasis on structure here, but that composition does not bury the effect of luscious black and blue fruit flavors. Not surprisingly for a wine of such dimension, the finish brings in earthiness and an element of austerity that do not diminish the wine’s innate suppleness and elegance. Drink now through 2016 to ’18. Production was 275 cases. Exceptional. About $75.
Wine Spectator / 93 Points
PHIFER PAVITT Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Date
Night 2006 Score: 93 / Well-crafted, tight and structured, with a complex
blend of currant, boysenberry, black cherry and plum fruit framed
by chewy, integrated tannins. Ends with a loamy earth edge. Drink
now through 2017. 275 cases made.
94-pointers from Barrett, Emerson and Erickson | Issue 202
From the organically-farmed Temple Family Vineyard. It shows a very smooth blackberry nose with some chocolate and minty/herb notes. The palate has rich entry with solid silky blackberry, currant and dense chocolate. Drink: 2008-2014.
- Doug Wilder , Vinfolio 202
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