Mission Codename Since 1859
It’s always busy at the Headquarters, dear fellow fans of espionage, our tasting panel goes through a seemingly endless number of bottles awaiting love and attention. Some don’t merit either, some receive one over the other, and a lucky few deserve both, making it to a daily feature. Among those, it’s discoveries like Pellet Estate that excite us and our Operatives most. The more one learns about Pellet Estate, the more one wonders why they are not as fabled as others nearby such as Spottswoode, Beckstoffer, or Vineyard 29. The legacy of the vineyard goes back to the founding years of Napa Valley, to Henry Pellet, a pioneer whose contemporaries were other visionaries such as Charles Krug and Dr. Crane. In this showstopper 2012, you can taste the heritage of Napa Valley in all its glory.
A striking lip of magenta deepening into a barely translucent garnet center define the glass. Harlan-like on the nose, with strikingly pure dark berries and luxurious oak. The silky mouthfeel feels ethereal, while chocolatey tannins add structure. Sheer class and brilliance linger, texturally smooth, elegantly deep and long. This brilliant, classically endowed Cabernet deserves the finest cuts of dry-aged beef, or any hand made pasta dish with truffles.
Wine Spectator was the first to highlight the potential here, naming it one of 10 Thrilling Napa Cabernets as “another new discovery is Pellet Estate, located in St. Helena, the estate dates to 1859.” The winemaking genius behind translating this tremendous St. Helena vineyard to the glass in this library vintage is none other than America’s first 100-point winemaker Nils Venge of Saddleback Cellars. The current winemaker is Tom Rinaldi, with a star-studded resume including Freemark Abbey, Duckhorn, Provenance and Hewitt. Yes, that is a lot of name throwing we know, but we just can’t contain our excitement to be able to offer such deep pedigree with 40% savings. Secure now, thank us later.
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
93 Points Cellar Selection – Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast - “From a heritage site planted originally in 1859, this wine was made by Nils Venge and contains mostly Cabernet, with a small handful of Merlot and an even smaller pinch of Petit Verdot. Soft yet structured, it’s layered in leathery dark-chocolate and black-fig tones, with juicy components of blackberry and cassis. It should age through 2022.”
92 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous - “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Pellet Vineyard is a delicious, racy Cabernet to drink now and over the next handful of years. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, spices and sweet vanillin from the oak meld together in a forward, unctuous yet mid-weight wine that delivers the goods.”
91 Points - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate - “The beautiful 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Pellett Vineyard exhibits lots of blackberry and blueberry fruit, supple tannins, excellent purity and outstanding depth and texture. This is an elegant, medium-bodied wine that can be drunk now or cellared for 10-15 years. Drink 2014-2029.”
What the Winery Says
2012 Pellet Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
- Nils Venge
- 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
- St. Helena, Napa Valley
- Harvest Dates
- October 5th - 19th, 2012
- 19 months
- 75% new French oak
- Bottling Date
- May 28th, 2014
- 15 barrels