Did my first online Zoom wine tasting with a winery I’ve known for 10+ years: Phifer Pavitt. We happened to have the wine of choice, their 2012 vintage of Date Night Cabernet Sauvignon in our cellar so we were good to go. This is an excerpt from their invitation:
Good afternoon Eve,
We are so excited to be launching our first official Virtual Tasting …This wine is coming out of the library and has been singing as of late! We will discuss the vintage, the wine, and answer all your questions. If you do not have the 2012 Phifer Pavitt DATE NIGHT Cabernet Sauvignon, do not fret! Open whatever Phifer Pavitt you have close or that is your favorite…
Director of Hospitality
Zooming in on DATE NIGHT
Always nice to see and chat with Suzanne Phifer Pavitt, we’ve also tasted with Luke Speer at the winery too. (Just google the winery name on EveWine101.com to see how often we’ve made a stop at their winery over the years!) So tasting one of their older bottles, with Suzanne, Luke and other Phifer Pavitt lovers, sounded like fun to me. Here’s what happened:
Nearly 40 people zoomed in at 4pm with wine in their glass and smiles on their faces. Many from California but many from other states. Suzanne greeted each and then talked a bit about the wine. We learned:
Currently in Napa Valley it was 65 degrees, bud break had yet to take place. They are Napa Green Certified and organically farmed. They are “16 years in” and believe that their wines can age 20-25 years. Every Christmas they taste all of the vintages and “no apex” has been seen yet.
This wine is from the Temple Family Vineyard. They have a wild yeast fermentation and their approach is all hands off. Gary Warburton, their white winemaker taking part in the Zoom meeting, chimed in to say that there were three to four different yeasts – from different molecules that combine for decades – and each contributes to the ageability of their wines.
Before we were finished I made my own notes on the wine: Dark purple color and opaque; on the nose were notes of black dusty fruit, multi-colored peppercorn, hard cherry candy, earth, tobacco, toasted oak, cedar chips and mint chocolate. Suzanne also noted worn leather and clove. On the mouth I got huge dark fruit and spice, very big and very balanced. Luke added that it was a round wine, very voluptuous. 15.1% alcohol, 97.5 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5 % Petit Verdot. 95 Eve pts.
My takeaway from a Zoom tasting: Zoom is really perfect for having communal time – especially now – and comraderie with like-minded wine lovers. Not only for a sense of community, the Zoom format allows for wine education (we are muted until asked a question and we raise our hands to speak) and having both Suzanne and Luke there made me feel like we were visiting in the winery.
From the website: DATE NIGHT is the ‘proof’ of Shane and Suzanne Pavitt’s dedicated commitment to a weekly date night.
Tasting Notes: A rich, wild and densely layered wine that seems to evolve endlessly in the glass. Aromas of melted chocolate, licorice, and garden roses, with hints of fire roasted meats, crushed rocks, and savory brown butter. This wine wows the palate, wasting no time as flavors come through fast, focused and silky. A plush wave of velvety mouth-coating tannins frames the black fruits, cocoa, tar, tobacco, caramel, and butterscotch. Each successively decadent note circling and swirling in harmony. Drink now or cellar through 2035.
Winemaking Details: Extended cold-soak maceration period prior to “wild” yeast fermentation. Wine spent 4 weeks on skins before draining and pressing straight to barrel where it underwent “wild” malolactic fermentation. The wine was racked only once during its 18 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: Arthur Spencer for his family’s Temple Family Vineyards AGE OF VINES: 23 years old
VARIETAL CONTENT: 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Verdot
HARVEST DATE: October 19 and 20, 2012
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: Mix of temperature controlled stainless steel, and open top fermenters
TIME IN OAK / TYPE OF OAK: 18 months in 75% new 225 Liter French Oak barrels BOTTLED: June 2014
ALCOHOL: 15.1%; TA: .59; pH: 3.85
BRIX AT HARVEST: 25.9
CASES PRODUCED: 980 cases
PROPRIETORS: Suzanne Phifer Pavitt & Shane Pavitt
WINEMAKER: Ted Osborne
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.