2009 Prix Vineyards Reserve White Riesling
Riesling •Rancho Wieruszowski Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
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Mission Codename: Grand Prix
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Hagafan Cellars, a Napa Valley gem found along the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley. Taste their Prix Reserve 2009 Napa Valley White Riesling, a wine reported to be a perfect Summertime sipper. If the wine is exceptional, secure an allocation for our growing base of Riesling-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Prix Vineyards (Hagafen Cellars)
Wine Subject: Prix Reserve 2009 Napa Valley White Riesling
Winemaker: Ernie Weir
Backgrounder: Hagafen Cellars produces a diverse selection of prized varietals while remaining a hidden gem among wine industry giants. Nestled along the Silverado Trail in the exciting Stags Leap District, Hagafen Cellars is a gold medal-winning winery that crafts small lots of distinctive and delicious wines. Today’s special Riesling was limited to a 400 case production.
Varietal Backgrounder: Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas. The varietals high acidity makes it a wonderful food companion.
Riesling is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally pure and are seldom oaked. As of 2004, Riesling was estimated to be the world’s 20th most grown variety at 48,700 hectares (120,000 acres) but in terms of importance for quality wines, it is usually included in the top three white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling is a variety which is highly terroir-expressive, meaning that the character of Riesling wines is clearly influenced by the wine’s place of origin. Today’s Napa Valley Riesling is a refreshing, sweet, complex and well-balanced wine that deserves your attention.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect clarity through a pale golden yellow heart of the wine. After swirling, short, chubby legs move slowly down the glass wall.
Smell – Sweet, earthy and very aromatic, lead by orange blossom, jasmine, creamed wildflower honey and young citrus. As the wine warms, it opens up, revealing dried white flowers, dried earth and slate.
Feel – Voluptuous and round with a satiny feel that glides across the entire palate. After a few moments, softest tannin and bright acids combine to give drive flavors and a light minerality (slate) to the far corners of the mouth.
Taste – Balanced between sweet, tart and softly earthy, this complex Riesling delivers creamed lavender honey, orange blossom, sweet citrus, pear, minerals and a hint of fresh apricot.
Finish – Long and full of flavor, with sweet flavors gently yielding to flavors of flowers, soft slate and apricot.
Conclusion – Sweet, delicious and with just the right amount of complexity, this is a very lush, elegant, soft and easy-drinking wine. Certainly on the sweet side, this is a wine that can be served as a pre-meal aperitif or with the dessert course. I paired mine with a spicy Thai meal. It was absolutely perfect, cutting the spice and cleansing the palate between bites. The finish is persistent and sweet, with just the right amount of dryness at the tail end. Our entire tasting panel fell in love with this wine, which we enjoyed during a special outdoor tasting on a sweltering Wine Country afternoon. Buy some for summer, but be sure to stock some for the Holidays. This wine gets our heartiest recommendation.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Ernie. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Prix Napa Valley Reserve White Riesling today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ERNIE WEIR: It is great to be back with you, once again, Red.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ERNIE: I have always had an attraction to this revered beverage.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ERNIE: I was enamored with the wines of Louis Martini in the 70s as I recall
RED: Who do you make wine for?
ERNIE: Most decidedly, we produce wines for consumers to enjoy
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ERNIE: Our 2009 Prix Napa Valley Reserve White Riesling is Estate Bottled from our Vichy Ave ranch, where the grapes for this delicious wine are organically grown.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ERNIE: Fire and Ice! That is flavorful, spicy, Asian cuisine.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
ERNIE: The southern half of Napa Valley with its cool nights is ideal for the longer ripening needed to develop the fruity esters.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ERNIE: We’re already prepping for harvest!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
ERNIE: Take it easy, do not fear and enjoy
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
ERNIE: Make sure to share the wine with someone you enjoy, the experience will be one worth remembering
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Hagafen Cellars Estate vineyards and winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Prix is for the man or woman who enjoys only the best… and who will welcome nothing else. This reserve release manifests the same philosophy of passion, flavor, and flair; no Prix Vineyards bottling is the same as any other—each is the finest selection of the year’s harvest bounty. The 2007 release presents aromas of orange blossoms, honey, and citrus fruits. On the palate is a glorious mix of apricots, citrus, and lemon pie that dances on the tongue. This is the wine you think of when you hear the words “reserve Riesling.” Accept nothing less: PRIX. Only 400 cases produced.
About The Winery:
Hagafen Cellars is located in the Napa Valley, in the heart of California’s premier wine grape region. Less than a mile south of the famed Stags leap District and twenty yards from the Oak Knoll District—Napa’s newest and most exciting of American Viticultural Areas—our well-drained soil is ideal for the growth and production of ripe and rich, intensely fruity small lot estate bottled wines. Owned and operated by Irit and Ernie Weir, the winery was founded in 1979, and the first commercially released vintage was harvested in 1980. In the ensuing years, we have grown from a small partnership producing wine with grapes from Winery Lake Vineyard, then owned by Rene DiRosa, to a well-established wine company whose wines are distributed throughout North America and overseas. Since 1980 our wines have been served on numerous occasions at the White House to visiting foreign dignitaries. The cornerstone of our lives are the Silverado Trail winery and tasting room and our two estate vineyards in the eastern benchland of the Napa Valley.
Ernie’s daily involvement in the two sides of wine production, grape growing and winemaking, ensures the superb quality of our wines. “Fine wine starts in the vineyard with careful vineyard management,” says Weir. “I strive to take maximum advantage of the Napa Valley’s natural geology and climate to produce the best wine varietals. I interfere as little as possible with the soil, creating a balance that minimizes the chemical and erosion impact by using modern farming techniques while maintaining the age-old wisdom of balance and the traditional values of conservation and land stewardship. Once harvest is completed, I undertake the second part of my job, winemaking. This presents an interesting challenge every time since each year the growing season and harvest are unique and different. I never seek to change what Nature has provided. My goal is to showcase the best that our land has produced.”
We look forward to meeting you here in Napa at our winery and tasting room on the Silverado Trail.
Family, Tradition, Excellence: Think Hagafen!
About The Winemaker:
Ernie Weir – “I interfere as little as possible with the soil, creating a balance that minimizes the chemical and erosion impact by using time honored farming techniques while maintaining the age-old wisdom of balance and the traditional values of conservation and land stewardship. Once harvest is completed, I undertake the second part of my job, winemaking. This presents an interesting challenge every time since each year the growing season and harvest are unique and different. I never seek to change what Nature has provided. My goal is to showcase the best that our land has produced.”
“Passion, soul, and enjoyment—without all three, you don’t have a fine wine.”
Appellation: Napa Valley.
Vineyard Designation: Rancho Wieruszowski