In a recent trip to Napa, Eddie and I caught up with Suzanne Phifer Pavitt and tasted her recent release of 2008 Date Night Cabernet. (And one other surprise tasting!) The story on Date Night follows my tasting notes.
But before we get to that I asked Suzanne – while she stood behind the split tree that had been fashioned into a very long bar for her brand-spanking new wine tasting room – what guests were saying about Date Night and she said, “Why don’t you look at the blackboard to see?”
Chalkboard Love Notes
As Phifer Pavitt’s 07 got a 94 from Wine Spectator I wasn’t surprised that the new 08 (of which I later purchased) had aromas of black cherry, milk chocolate, dark rose petals, spice and oak. The taste of jammy dark fruit and what Suzanne called “tannic support” made for a smooth balance with a nice mouth feel and viscosity.
Advance tasting: We also had a barrel sample of Suzanne’s not-yet-released but in-high-demand, second wine: 2011 100% Sauvignon Blanc made in her chosen French Sancerre style. Crisp aromas of bright honeysuckle and jasmine were followed by an effervescent taste of fruits, notably for me: pineapple.
Date Night Fact Sheet (from website):
2008 PHIFER PAVITT NAPA CABERNET…DATE NIGHT
DATE NIGHT is the ‘proof’ of Shane and Suzanne Pavitt’s dedicated commitment to a weekly date night.
Winemaker Ted Osborne’s tasting notes: An altogether elegant and sophisticated wine. Complex aromas of toffee, ripe black cherries, black licorice, tobacco, Christmas spice, and cocoa. On the palate it’s a classic Bordeaux beauty, at once dense and approachable with flavors of grenadine, black tar, and cherry pie that dance over a weave of chewy silky tannins. Extremely balanced, the finish lasts for minutes, resonating a fine mix of plum, cinnamon, and pomegranate. For long-term aging. (Best now through 2028.)
Winemaking Details: Extended cold-soak maceration period prior to “wild” yeast fermentation. Wine spent 3 weeks on the skins before draining and basket-pressing straight to barrel where it underwent “wild” malolactic fermentation. The wine was racked only once during its 19 months in barrel. In short, our philosophy is one of minimal intervention in pursuit of the most natural and harmonious winemaking style possible.
APPELLATION/GROWING REGION: Napa County – Pope Valley VINEYARD: Temple Family Vineyards AGE OF VINES: 16 years old FARMED: Organically
VARIETAL CONTENT: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petite Verdot HARVEST DATE: October 17, 2008 HARVEST PROCEDURE: Hand picked in the cold midnight, then destemmed, sending the whole, unbroken berries straight to the fermenter for five days of extended cold soak. FERMENT: Temperature controlled stainless steel tanks YEAST: Indigenous TIME IN OAK / TYPE OF OAK: 19 months in 75% new 60 gallon French oak barrels BOTTLED: June 2010 ALCOHOL: 14.5% BRIX AT HARVEST: 25.4 TA: .58 pH: 3.9 FINING: none CASES PRODUCED: 223 PROPRIETORS: Suzanne Phifer Pavitt & Shane Pavitt WINEMAKER: Ted Osborne
NATIONAL SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $80.00