2011 Pauline's Cuvee
California: Napa Valley
Atalon and on
Today’s Atalon Winery 2011 Pauline’s Cuvee, on top of being incredibly delicious, has quite the pedigree.
This wine was handcrafted by winemaker Brian Kosi from some of the finest fruit sources in Napa Valley, including the Stagecoach Vineyard on Atlas Peak and the Coombsville Vineyard in the recently designated Coombsville appellation. The quality of the fruit shines through in Pauline’s Cuvee. Highlighted by hints of baked black cherry and California bay leaf, this wine has a perfect balance of complexity and drinkability.
Wine Enthusiast awarded today’s wine 93 Points, but I think a few folks from our tasting panel loved it even more. Don’t wait to score a few bottles (or a case!) of this amazing wine - you won’t be sorry!
Dark sanguine notes, with flecks of magenta in the heart of the glass.
Complex and layered on the nose, with red cherry and sweet plum laid overtop touches of mushroomy earth, fresh spring garden, espresso bean, cedar wood cigar box, and toasted oak spice.
Baked black cherry and sweet plum mingle with sweet tobacco leaf, sandalwood, lilac, black peppercorn, and California bay leaf to form a palate of great depth and elegance.
At once very approachable and easy drinking, this beautifully elegant wine finishes with layered complexity and bold flavors.
Roast duck breast in a plum balsamic reduction.
What the Winery Says
Atalon Napa Valley Pauline’s Cuvee is a powerful Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend inspired by the strength of Atalon’s matriarch, Pauline Banke. Crafted in the style of the Right Bank wines of Bordeaux, this cuvee is sourced from exclusive vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley—including the Stagecoach Vineyard on Atlas Peak and the Coombsville Vineyard in the recently designated Coombsville appellation—and reveals a taste of the region’s majestic geology.
Crafted in the style of Bordeaux’s Right-Bank wines, our Pauline’s Cuvee offers subtle aromas and flavors of dark cherry, plum and current with fully integrated sweet oak, spice, toast and tobacco. This is a smooth wine, with a soft, complex entry that leads into a palate of great depth and balance.
93 Points Review - Wine Enthusiast This Merlot-based blend is a huge success. It’s a big, tannic, tight wine, packed to bursting with black cherry liqueur, cola and spice flavors. Yet it maintains an exciting balance, with the tension between acids, tannins and oak in equilibrium. Seems like it wants 5–6 years in the cellar to let it throw some tannins and mellow.
- Brian Kosi
- 93 Points - Wine Enthusiast
- Napa Valley, California
- Stagecoach Vineyard (Atlas Peak), Coombsville Vineyard (Coombsville)
- Fruit Variety
- 63% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon
About the Winery
To chart a course through Napa Valley is to appreciate what makes this place one of the most diverse wine growing regions in the world. From high atop Atlas Peak to the rolling hills of Carneros, from the steep slopes of Howell Mountain to the valley floor of Rutherford, wines take on an unparalleled range of terroir expression.
Atalon Napa Valley is inspired by the diversity encompassed within this storied region, and driven by an intrepid spirit of discovery. Our philosophy—a combination of ongoing exploration and uncompromising quality—arises from a deeply rooted relationship with the land. We take a fresh approach, sourcing Bordeaux-style wines from exclusive locations and allowing them to honor their origins with an elegance and complexity that lies at the very heart of contemporary Napa Valley life.
Winemaker Tom Peffer
Tom began his Atalon career in 1997 after 12 years at Beringer, where he worked as an assistant to Beringer’s Ed Sbragia from 1985 to 1997, so he knows Napa’s turf and how to make rich, complex wines.
Before making it to the big time, Tom was a home winemaker for 5 years where he grew up in Fresno, California. He got his degree in chemistry and his masters in agricultural chemistry, specializing in winemaking, from Fresno State.
Many times, winemakers get into the field because their family taught them an early appreciation of wine. In Tom’s case, it was the opposite. He knew he belonged in the business and ended up teaching his family an appreciation of wine.
Tom has also worked hand in hand with two of Jess Jackson’s top winemakers: Charles Thomas, winemaker for Cardinale and for all of Kendall-Jackson’s Artisan & Estates wines in Napa and Sonoma, and Marco DiGiulio, winemaker for Lokoya.
In 2007, After 29 years of winemaking, Tom decided to retire to dedicate more of his time to his family.