About the Wine
What do Scarecrow, Colgin, Schrader
and Philip Togni have in common?
Wine Spectator's Top Ratings for '15 Napa Cab!
Of more than 300 '15 Napa Cabernets
reviewed by Wine Spectator,
only 4 have received the top rating of 96 points -
Colgin Tychson Hill, Scarecrow Rutherford, Schrader Beckstoffer To Kalon, and,
Philip Togni Napa Valley!
Flagship wine of legendary
Napa winemaker, with over 50 vintages experience in Napa Valley
- Bordeaux influenced winemaking allows this wine to improve for years, even decades
- Vineyards located on a golden spot in Spring Mountain at 2000 feet elevation
- Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet franc
and 1% Petit Verdot. 40% New French oak
About the Winery
In our hyperbole-driven culture words like 'legend' and 'icon' get thrown around lightly. Status as a genuine legend in any field can only be earned through consistent superior performance over a long period of time. In this context, Philip Togni certainly qualifies, having made benchmark wines around the world for over 50 years. His estate Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is the culmination of his prodigious career, and has been considered iconic for more than two decades.
Philip Togni (pronounced Ton-‐yee) descended from an Italian Swiss
family and was raised in England. A geology engineer, he started his
career with Shell prospecting for oil overseas. That all changed when he
visited Jerez during a trip to Spain; he fell in love with wine and realized
it was his calling. Acting on the advice of famous enologist, Maynard
Amerine, he studied at Montpellier University. He then apprenticed in
Chile and ultimately returned to France, completing his enology degree
in Bordeaux under Emile Peynaud. While in Bordeaux he worked for
Alexis Lichine and made the '56 vintage at 2nd Growth Chateau
Lascombes in Margaux, a defining point in his winemaking career.
Always the pioneer, Togni could not resist the lure of California and
relocated in 1958. After a brief stint at Mayacamas Vineyards, he was
recruited to start Chalone. He then joined Chappellet, where he made
one of Napa's greatest wines, the '69 Chappellet. He moved on again to
become the first winemaker at Cuvaison.
In the late '70s, Philip and his wife Birgitta decided to pursue their vision
for a Margaux-‐styled Napa Cabernet that expresses its site. They bought
a property on Spring Mountain with ideal conditions —high elevation
above the inversion layer, well draining soils and excellent southern
aspect and a very small scale—just 10 acres planted. The first vintage of
Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was in 1983; then as now, the
wines are classic vins-de-garde designed to age gracefully and blossom
Philip’s daughter Lisa, herself an accomplished winemaker,
now works full time alongside him and plans to maintain the Togni style.
While many Napa wineries spend fortunes to develop state of the art
gravity-fed wine making facilities, Togni's are old -‐school, featuring
nondescript structures cascading down the hill. The fruit starts at the
top and works its way toward the aging cellar at the bottom. All work is
done by the Tognis and a small crew. The entire estate can be picked
in 4 days, enabling them to produce great wines even in tough vintages.
The delicate job of racking is done only by Philip and Lisa.
Those who think Robert Parker only praises massive extracted wines will be surprised that he has always loved Togni's wines, which have never exceeded 14% (they do not publish the alcohol percent on the label because they were “grandfathered in” before the law changed and are bottled as 'Red Table Wine'). Parker includes Togni among just 23 US wineries in his book, “The World’s Greatest Wine Estates”. The wines have received countless accolades, including winning a reenactment of The Judgment of Paris in Brussels, where Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet ranked first, ahead of Cabernet Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion and Mouton and esteemed Napa producers.
A focused, tannic style, featuring tobacco and sage notes intermixed liberally with steeped currant and blackberry fruit flavors. Terrific cast iron and graphite hints flow underneath. This has loads of character and range, showing very vigorous, savory-edged cut. Youthfully rugged, with brambleedged grip to burn. Cellaring will let all the elements meld. ~ 96pts, WS
Medium garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has a very classic nose of cassis, warm plums and crushed blackberries with notions of cigar box, garrigue, damp soil and truffles plus wafts of menthol and underbrush. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a firm frame of grainy tannins and wonderful freshness, finishing long and minerally. ~ 96pts, WA
A fleshy deep, wine, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate exudes richness and sheer exotic beauty from the very first taste. As always, the Togni wines need bottle age to be at their best. In 2015, time will mostly help the aromatics develop, as the tannins are quite soft for such a young wine. Expressive floral and savory notes develop with time in the glass, but the 2015 is years away from hitting its stride. It will be interesting to see where the 2015 goes in the coming years and decades. Sadly, yields are down a whopping 50%. ~ 94 VM
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