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Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1997

Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
  • RP98
  • V97
  • RP94
  • D100
  • V96
  • JS94
  • RP94
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
The Wine Advocate

The 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon has to be one of the great buys left for profound Napa Cabernet. He’s done the aging for you, and of course the wine is still an adolescent in terms of aging potential. Brilliant notes of cedar, spice box, cassis, smoke, and licorice soar from the glass, as if this wine were pretending to be a first-growth Pauillac. Full-bodied, powerful, still with a boatload of tannin to resolve, and just a faint lightening of the dense purple color at the rim, this is a brilliant wine from a vintage that produced relatively quick-evolving wines, but no such thing is tolerated at Philip Togni. This is a great Cabernet Sauvignon with the exuberance, purity, and richness of fruit that Napa provides, but with a Bordeaux structure that Togni, with his Bordeaux upbringing, somehow builds into the wine. This wine will continue to drink well for at least another 30+ years.

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Philip Togni

Philip Togni

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Philip Togni, , California
Philip Togni
Philip Togni planted their first vines near the top of Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley in 1981. Those phylloxera vulnerable rootstocks have now gone, replanted in the early nineties. Philip Togni's first wines were Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc in 1983, but they have now concentrated their efforts on a very ageworthy Margaux-type blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, all grown on the 25 acre parcel where the family lives. "Estate Bottled" is an important definition for Philip Togni, meaning that they grow all the grapes on land they own and make and bottle the wine with their own workers, totally free from outside influences.

There are three owners, Birgitta and Philip Togni, recently joined by their daughter Lisa. Birgitta specializes in the vineyard. Philip is a former student of Emile Peynaud at the University of Bordeaux where he earned the Diplôme National d’Oenologie many years ago while working as assistant Régisseur at Château Lascombes. Lisa, holding an MBA, with a background in the wine trade, has done harvests at Château Léoville-Barton and in Australia. Her plan is to take over the business during during the next few years.

Sonoma Coast

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A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs from the San Pablo Bay to the Mendocino County border. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the “true” Sonoma Coast, marked by high rainfall, marine soils, cool temperatures, and saline ocean breezes, from which one can actually see the ocean—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, creating a diversity of wine styles. Contained within the appellation is the much smaller and more focused Fort Ross-Seaview AVA.

Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah, with high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and fruit that is rarely overripe. One of the most favorable sites within the region is the Petaluma Gap, where a break in the coastal mountain range allows Pacific winds and fog to funnel through and cool the vineyards.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

ARP126602_1997 Item# 126602

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