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Flat front label of wine

Amuse Bouche (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2002

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP92
  • WS92
0% ABV
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  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

Production of the inaugural vintage of Amuse Bouche wine is limited to 3,000 bottles. The Amuse Bouche wine is showing remarkable structure and suppleness through fermentation, with aromas and flavors of black tea, currants, raspberries and anise. The Cabernet Franc grapes, from 20-year-old hillside vines in Oakville, California, were picked on October 3, 2002 and have joined the Merlot grapes aging in a variety of French oak cooperage.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Primarily Merlot blended with a small amount of Cabernet Franc, Amuse Bouche’s Merlot is packaged in a heavy, artisanal bottle displaying the artwork of Guy Buffet on the label. It is a classic, high quality Merlot with an opaque ruby/purple color as well as notes of sweet cherries, Asian plum sauce, and hints of camphor and ink. The fragrant aromatics are followed by a medium to full-bodied wine revealing gorgeous fruit, purity, glycerin and texture. This 2002 appears to have hit full maturity and should drink well for another decade given its level of concentration and balance.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Ultraripe and showy, with juicy wild berry, blackberry and currant flavors that are complex and concentrated, with a tight focus and a long, lingering aftertaste. Not shy about the use of toasty oak; the wood folds in nicely. A touch of heat on the finish underscores the ripeness, and it has ample tannins. Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
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Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

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Amuse Bouche, Napa Valley, California
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Heidi Barrett grew up in the Napa Valley in a winemaking family and was destined to become one of California's leading winemakers. It is said that winemaking is a combination of science and art. With a scientist-winemaker father and an artist mother it is no big surprise that Heidi was drawn to the wine industry. With great enthusiasm, a love for what she does, and an incredible wealth of experience, Heidi blends the art and science of winemaking like few can.

In 2002, Heidi partnered with longtime friend John Schwartz to create Amuse Bouche, a Pomerol-inspired Merlot from Napa Valley. Recognizing that the cult wine phenomenon has created an almost aspirational class structure among collectors, the partners decided to make this limited edition wine available to a much broader consumer base. Winemaker Heidi Barrett explains, "We have created Amuse Bouche, a limited edition, superb Pomerol style wine with the added value of limited edition art that is available to consumers through a variety of channels."

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Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

KFYAMUSEMG_2002 Item# 123275