Episode #67 Penche Winery Leaning Toward Excellence
I have a confession. I’ve had this beautiful elegant and understated label staring at me for over two months. There is something engaging about the simple serif font with only the winery name and vintage on the front. There were times I even set the bottle on top of the cellar buffet just for show. Finally, the time has come to pop the cork and discover if what’s inside the bottle is as elegant and beautiful as the outside.
Penche is French for leaning bending or tilting and the winery name is taken from the old oak trees on the property. Scott and Pauline Asbill discovered the Oak Knoll property on their travels in 2001. Although wine lovers, they had no intention of creating wine, they fell in love with the panoramic views of the Napa Valley. The property originally included 4 acres of Chardonnay which Scott re-planted with three clones of Cabernet Sauvignon.
As the education, consultation, and passion continued, they began selling grapes to popular wineries and in 2005 took the proverbial leap and create Penche Wine. Paul is a wine grower and together with his wife and consulting wine maker Jay Buoncristiani they collaborate on each vintage for quality and direction.
The grapes for each wine are hand picked, hand sorted, re-sorted, and fermented in small containers before being stored for one year in new French oak. After blending trials and deciding on the proper blend, the wine is returned to barrel for an additional 6-9 months before bottling. The wines reviewed below represent only the second release in the fulfillment of passion and a dream!
2006 Penche Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 88% Cab (Penche Vineyard) 5% Cab Franc (Saunders Vineyard), 3% Malbec (Caldwell Vineyard), 2% Merlot (Larry Hyde Vineyard), 2% Petit Verdot (Penche and Saunders Vineyard); 100% new French oak for 18-21 months; 14.8%abv, 364 cases made
- The Swirl: A dark thick extracted purple/plum with rim of bright neon glow; nearly 100% opaque
- The Sniff: Bright red cherry, currant, and slight toasted oak. Very opulent and aromatic
- The Sip: Big fruit forward cherry flavors with cassis. A chalkiness settles on the mid-palate but the acidity washes it away within a few seconds on the finish.
- The Score: At $60, this is on the upper side of the price point for many people. I score this wine a 4 (out of 5) and can highly recommend it for anyone that buys wine in this price point. The wine could / should still see 3 more years in bottle to soften up the chalkiness. If opening immediately, should decant and pair with a big hearty steak!
92 Points Wine Enthusiast for 2005 vintage
The 2006 Penche Cab Sauv comes alive with bright cherries and toasted cedar. The mouth feel is big, rich and fruit forward. The grip on the tongue is released with a nice balanced acidity and lingering finish. Cellar 3-10 years. $60, DrinkNectar Rating = 4
- The Stuff: 40% Cab, 38% Merlot, 10% Cab Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec; 20 months in new French oak, 14.8%abv 289 cases
- The Swirl: Dark purple with softer tones. Edges move toward jewel tone garnet. About 90% opaque
- The Sniff: A wonderful representation of each of the five Bordeaux grapes. The bright cherry fruit is softened by black cherries and cocoa. A whiff of blueberries graces the nose as well.
- The Sip: A smooth mouth feel from front to back. The fruit that presents itself on the nose is also present on the palate with lively flavor all across the mouth. The tannin is less pronounced than on the Penche Cab, but still provides enough structure to pair with food
- The Score: At $40 I score this wine a 4+ out of 5. It is a large wine that is graceful like a offensive lineman in ballet class. It’s bold, smooth and elegant without losing the strength of the Cabernet grape.
No other reviews could be found.
The 2006 Penche Argent is a river of bold flavorful black cherry, cocoa, and well integrated spices. Expect an elegant flavor with strength to pair with food. Argent positions itself well as a sipping wine or to impress at dinner. $40, DrinkNectar Rating = 4+
*Wines were provided as an industry sample with the intention to review