The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2014

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60  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2014 O n a perfect sunny day in Las Vegas, Purlieu Wines' recent 2011 releases were showcased at a lunch by winemaker Julien Fayard, formerly of Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Smith Haut Lafite, Gemstone, Quintessa and Atelier Melka. Alongside him were Vegas's finest somms and Bruno Laclotte of Regency Wines, who proudly brings Purlieu and Le Pich into the Vegas market. The lunch was at a trade in-the-know noodle house off the Strip known as I-Naba, where the owner, Master Chef Yoshi Honda, pre- sided over the spot-on food and wine pairings. Traditional Japanese dishes with a moderne slant, like an escabeche of salmon, or braised black pork belly. This lunch was a revelation to many as to how some Napa wines can pair withunique, balanced Asian flavors. At Purlieu (in medieval English, purlieu originally referred to the edge of a forest, but it also coincidentally means "pure place" in French), Julien's winemaking philosophy is that "balance is a journey, an attitude and a focus." His wines have that range of resonance and distinctiveness as if to say, "Vegas, meet cool-climate Coombsville wines and experience the richness of fruit with finesse and texture." Yes, there are layers of complexity to the Purlieu 2011 Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon, and the single- vineyard Purlieu 2011 Teucer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ups the ante in eloquence. This is a wine to be enjoyed now with extensive decanting, but will be gorgeous in the glass in 20 years. It drinks like a wine of pedi- gree. Both wines are 100 percent Cabernet. The cool Coombsville AVA is the latest Napa sub- appellation and is getting a bit of attention lately. It reminds Fayard of his native Bordeaux, where Margaux and Pauillac in the Médoc share similar cool climates. This is Julien's third vintage with Purlieu and with sibling label Le Pich's Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc (both Napa Valley). Le Pich comes from the Wappo Indian term for "golden eagle." Both Purlieu and Le Pich's previous vintages have sold out, so addi- tions were made in the 2011 vintage to include vineyard-designated wines from the best blocks of the Beckstoffer To Kalon and Martinez vineyards. WHAT WE'RE DRINKING Wines from the Edge of the Forest A SOMMELIER LUNCH WITH JULIEN FAYARD OF PURLIEU WINES TASTING NOTES To fully appreciate the complexity of these wines, overnight decanting is suggested. Purlieu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville ($80) Earthiness with deep rich blackberries; sleek and elegant with firm tannins. Purlieu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Teucer Vineyard, Coombsville ($180) Rich, dense minerality; cassis and blackberries. 100% Cabernet Clone 7. A precise expression of Coombsville at its best. 600 sixpacks made. Purlieu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, Napa Valley ($175) Layers of black fruit and cherries; aged in the same 100% French oak it was fermented in. 35 sixpacks made. Purlieu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Martinez Vineyard, Napa Valley ($150) From oldest block of Martinez. Old vines ripened perfectly despite cold vintage. Black currant, vanilla, cedar. 120 sixpacks made. Le Pich 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($45) Dark, dense and luscious; lingering finish and silky texture. Le Pich 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($24) Acidity par excellence, clementines and orange zest. (left) The Purlieu Teucer Vineyard is a precise expression of Coombsville at its best. (right) The Le Pich Sauvignon Blanc delivers food- friendly acidity. Winemaker Julien Fayard discusses his Purlieu Wines at the recent Las Vegas sommelier lunch. PHOTO: MONA SHIELDS PAYNE TP0514_034-71.indd 60 4/24/14 11:03 PM

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