Due to some cancellations I was able to attend a Pegau tasting last night. It was hosted by Doug Damron in the private room at restaurant 701. Present were Doug Damron, Robb Johnson, Rene Sepulveda, Paul Himes, Jim Cahill, and myself. I had met Doug and Robb once before. Even though I was the new one in the group I felt welcomed by all. The sommelier provided excellent and enthusiastic service. Doug arranged for the following wines to be tasted: 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004.
The small back room was a cozy setting for the six of us. It was particularly exciting because only six of us would be sharing the wine. The ample pours in the numerous wine glasses let us revisit the wines throughout the evening. Before we set out to taste the Pegau we geared up with two excellent white wines.
2005 Talbott, Chardonnay, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Monterey
An up front big style of chardonnay. The nose showed softer aromas of butter and some toast. In the mouth the wine was creamy with sweeter fruit than on the nose. It was a tasty wine but after having the Kongsaard I thought it lacked focus.
2006 Kongsgaard, Chardonnay, Napa Valley
This was great to smell. A medium+ nose that was quite perfumed with stones and lemon. In the mouth it was still tight and didn’t give up as much as the nose. There is ample acidity and verve. Compared to the Talbott this was precise in the mouth.
The wines were served in pairs with new glasses brought out for every wine. The wines were not poured in order of vintage but I have listed my notes in vintage order. The 1990 was voted as the best wine for drinking and the 2001 was voted as the best wine for aging. It was a fun lineup.
1990 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
A youthful medium opaque garnet-ruby in the glass. At first there was a light nose of pencil box, some minerals, and blue fruit. Throughout the evening the nose opened up and expanded, more so than in the mouth. I’d say it was the best expression of the spiced Pegau nose. There was cool blue fruit in the obviously structured wine. There are still very fine tannins with a good aftertaste of dark blue fruits. In the end I thought the nose delivered more than the palate. This was everyone’s wine of the night for drinking now.
1995 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
A medium nose of earth and black pepper. Lots of good funk going on. This showed dark red fruit, again structured, but with good acidity balanced by fine tannins. I thought it delivered consistant characteristics throughout the night. It edged out the 1996 to me.
1996 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
A lighter nose than the 1995 but showed very similar earthy/funk notes. In the mouth this was tighter but gave up dusty red fruit. The initial structure gave way to some sharp and angular flavors. There was an ethereal aftertaste. Aromatically the 1996 and 1995 were very similar with the 1990 related but more refined.
1998 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
Some found this very stinky. To me this medium strength nose smelled of old-ladies perfume and exactly like the inside of a florest’s shop. It was an interesting nose but disappointed with short, sharp flavors that were weak. I suspect this was a subpar bottle.
1999 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
A medium+ opaque color of ruby with some garnet. There was a calm fruity nose. In the mouth there was big red fruit, riper and more acidic than the 1990. The softer, tarter fruit makes way to fine tannins. It slowly developed a Pegau aroma then faded away. This was my least favorite after the subpar 1998.
2000 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
A light nose of delicate, dark fruit. In the mouth there was steely, spiced fruit with very fine tannins that were held in check. This was more backwards than the 2001 and was undone by the chunkier finish that was out of whack with some heat.
2001 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
This was good stuff and was voted the best wine for aging. A very tight nose that had a lot lurking underneath, dark fruits and tobacco. In the mouth there were dark, spiced fruit, sweet cinnamon flavors that this substantial wine delivered in perfect balance. Everything is there and sings out great potential. A notch up from the 2000.
2003 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
If this was served blind it might be mistaken for an Australian wine. Dark fruit on the nose makes way for a mouthful of big, ripe, hot blue-red fruits. This is a full force, tannic monster. I don’t think it has the complexity nor the potential of the 2001.
2004 Pegau, Cuvee Reservee
The youngest Pegau in all meaning. There is brighter red fruit in this wound-up wine, typical Pegau flavors, and a fair amount of tannins. It didn’t budge much with air and isn’t fun to drink yet.
The following was poured with the 2003 Pegau:
2003 Meyer Family, Syrah, Mendocino
Blue fruit on the nose with eucalyptus notes. In the mouth there are big, dark fruit flavors with new tannins that creep up on the fruit. The acidity plays out at the end. This is not a lush wine and needs time to integrate.
And finally to wrap things up a TBA. I only jotted down the shortest of notes. I didn’t look at the bottle so perhaps someone could state which specific bottle it was.
1998 Alois Kracher, Trockenbeerenauslese
Very sweet, round, fat with obvious residual sugar. Concentrated apricot flavors. I’d be curious to try this in 20 years.