2005 Atlas Peak Claret
California: Napa Valley: Atlas Peak
What we say
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Today’s wine is an exceptional mountain wine that shows off the unique terroir of the Atlas Peak appellation, in the Napa Valley. We always bring you wines of the highest quality, but when one really shies, we issue special alerts like this.
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Mission Codename: Premier Edition
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red to the mountain vineyards of the Atlas Peak Winery. Choose a bold, delicious Cabernet Sauvignon for our deserving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Atlas Peak Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Claret – Atlas Peak
Winemaker: Jaeson Mackura
Backgrounder: In traditional terms, a Claret wine is a dry red blend made from Bordeaux varietals. Today’s wine is a remarkable Bordeaux-varietal blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, 12% Merlot, 11% Malbec and 6% Cabernet Franc.
Known for its exceptional Mountain wines, the Atlas Peak Winery crafts its extraordinary, limited production wine, exclusively from Napa Valley Mountain fruit. With four mountain appellations in the valley, each produces fruit that expresses the uniqueness of its slopes.
The Atlas Peak AVA, located in in the Vaca Range just east of Napa Valley and south of Lake Berryessa is well known for its high elevation, well drained volcanic soil, long sunny days and cool nights which provide excellent conditions for bold and rich red varietals and specifically Cabernet Sauvignon. Lesser known, is the fact that the region accounts for nearly 25% of the Sangiovese planted in California.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This wine intense hues of darkest ruby, with a darker, nearly opaque core. As you spin the wine, light picks ups glinting magenta highlights. When the wine settles, tall, skinny, wine-stained tears descend slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold and intense, with dark mixed berry fruit of blackberry dark raspberry and blueberry. These mingle with cigar box, bramble, wild strawberry, hard cherry candy and a hint of toasty vanilla.
Feel – Plush and full, the wine moves swiftly across the palate – at first. After a few moments, it settles quickly onto the palate, spreading a crushed velvet dryness throughout.
Taste – Dark and concentrated, with the berry fruit taking on a softly spiced character. Sweet and softly spiced, darker berries yield to raspberry, sweet cranberry, sweet plum and toasted oak. As the wine opens up with some swirling, it reveals hints of bramble, dried dark flower petals, supple leather and a hint of cocoa powder.
Finish – Ultra long, with flavors that start with dark berries, sweet spice and flower petals, and ends cocoa and a hint of flint. The wine becomes softly chewy and, as flavors slowly dwindle, a soft dryness spreads to the far corners of the palate.
Conclusion – Today’s stupendous 2005 Claret from Atlas Peak Winery, is the finest wine that we have had the pleasure to sample from this great winery. Lush and elegant and very flavorful, this wine satisfies on so many levels. With classic Napa Valley mountain fruit and the unique terroir of the Atlas Peak AVA (American Viticultural Area), this fine wine delivers a terrific drinking experience. It begins with a lush nose that lures you in to taking a generous sip. The bold but balanced flavors are transported across the palate with a plushness that gives the wine a truly elegant feel. The finish is long, rich and flavor-filled, with the flavors from each sip seeming to last longer than the last. This is a delightful solo-sipper, bu pair it with a great steak or a juicy prime rib for great results. At today’s price, we are very likely to sell out of this superb wine, so please act quickly.
We were unable to secure a new interview with Jaeson Mackura – and submit this previous interview for your reading pleasure:
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jaeson Mackura
WINE EDUCATION: B.S. Viticulture & Enology
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: RH Philips, Buena Vista Carneros/Atlas Peak Winery, Geyser Peak Winery
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: ”Wine makes itself. Winemakers just need to keep from screwing it up.”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Jaeson. We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
JAESON MACKURA: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
JAESON: No specific experience, except that I remember enjoying wine from an early age – always thought it was strange for a kid to not be repulsed by wine.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
JAESON: Pinot Noir; Low intervention winemaking at its best.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
JAESON: I make my wines for our wine-drinking customers. If they don’t enjoy it, I don’t have a job long term!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
JAESON: Mt. Veeder is a distinct appellation for Cabernet. Generally a bit cooler (being closer to the bay), the wines have more of a Bordeaux influence. Not typically quite as over the top ripe, so the wine retains much of its varietal character.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
JAESON: Can’t go wrong with charcoal barbequed rib eye.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Mt. Veeder appellation so special?
JAESON: Elevation & marine influence gives us the ability to mature the grapes without excessive sugar development. I’ll sum it up in a word – ‘hang-time’.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
JAESON: Preparation for harvest. 2011 is looking to be a late season. I’m appreciating the extra time to get ready!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
JAESON: Wine is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t over think it. If you like it, drink it!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JAESON: I’d suggest trying our other sister wines to the Mt. Veeder – we also make other high elevation Cabernets – from Spring Mountain District, Howell Mountain, and Atlas Peak. As our tag line says – you can’t beat ‘Cabernet at its peak”!
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 Mt. Veeder Appellation in Napa can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast – The 2005 Claret is quite possibly the best edition we have produced thus far. Its inky dark color, luscious blueberry and ripe cherry fruit, plush mouthfeel and bold tannins will reward cellaring. December 2009
About This Wine:
The Atlas Peak Claret is an intricate blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc that combines power, structure and elegance. The 2005 Claret is quite possibly the best edition we have produced thus far. Its inky dark color, luscious blueberry and ripe cherry fruit, plush mouthfeel and bold tannins will reward cellaring. This wine pairs beautifully with Steak au Poivre and roasted red potatoes.
The Atlas Peak Mountain Series are limited production wines that showcase the best of the prestigious Napa Valley Mountain Appellations: Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, Howell Mountain and Spring Mountain District. Mountain top vineyards have poorer soils and better drainage, which stresses the vines, thereby producing smaller berries with a greater skin to juice ratio. Grapes grown at high elevation, above the natural fog line, experience lower daytime temperatures than those on the valley floor, allowing them to stay cool while gaining maximum sun exposure. These wines are handcrafted by our winemaker to make more intense, more structured and age worthy wines.
VINTAGE: The 2005 vintage delivered the excellent quality for which Atlas Peak is known. The long, cool growing season helped flavors develop beautifully and a large crop afforded us even more room to select only the best lots for our final blends. The grapes for the Atlas Peak Claret were harvested October 17-27, 2005. This extended hang time, thanks to spectacular fall weather, allowed for greater flavor development, Fruit sorting and skilled winemaking decisions were especially important components of this late, yet nearly perfect, harvest.
WINEMAKING: The wine went through primary fermentation at 85ºF in 100% stainless steel followed by full malolactic fermentation. An extended maceration period of 29 days bestowed the wine with brilliant color, tannin and substance. It was then racked into new (51%), one year-old (39%) and 2 year-old (10%) 60-gallon French oak barrels, where it aged for over 20 months before bottling.
About The Winery:
K2 or Everest? It’s all a matter of taste, and whichever you choose, you’re still above the fog line. Each Mountain Cabernet in Atlas Peak’s portfolio expresses its own distinct high-elevation terroir. These mountain appellations frame the Napa Valley and provide ideal growing conditions for bold, well-structured wines.
Our goal at Atlas Peak is to create wines that reflect their origin. Mountain Cabernet is known for its lush, full-bodied character with big, bold tannins, and deep, concentrated color. The Mountain Cabernet Series includes five wines sourced from four of the finest mountain appellations in Napa: Atlas Peak, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Howell Mountain.
WINE FROM HIGHER GROUND: Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain District, and Mount Veeder are the cornerstone mountain vineyards behind Atlas Peak’s Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon series. These mountain appellations frame the Napa Valley and provide ideal growing conditions for bold, well-structured wines. Thin soils, lots of sunlight and cooler daytime temperatures force grapes to go into survival mode, building the character needed to make wines that express the rugged elegance which come from great fruit and hard work in hard-to-reach places.
About The Winemaker:
Whether it was the mountains in Argentina, New Zealand or Spain, high-altitude winemaking is the pioneering force behind the new Atlas Peak Mountain Cabernet Series. Nick has always felt that Napa Cabernet is a place of extremes. East vs. West and North vs. South means that wines that are uniquely different can be experienced under the one label. The beginning of this adventure began in 2003 where the exploration of altitude within the large Atlas peak appellation showed wines of incredible difference. If we took that concept and laid it over the whole of the Napa Valley, what would we end up with?
The mountain series from Atlas Peak explores this diversity at a whole different level. Fruit from four mountains surrounding Napa Valley: Mt.Veeder, Spring Mountain District, Howell Mountain and Atlas Peak are compared. The team has been instrumental in sourcing extraordinary fruit from Napa’s upper elevations, using these mountain grapes to craft wines of incredible character and depth.
Once harvested these grapes are then treated with utmost care in the winery. No two wines are made alike. Each wine is made specifically to its sight. Whether it is a largely tannic block or one with more elegance, extraction is determined as to what will give the final blend the best result. Then soothing the wild soul of the juice as it rests in French oak barrels for 12 to 18 months—all to create wines that express the perfect harmony of powerful structure, refined ruggedness and nirvana-like opulence.
What you will taste is a balance to fruit, finesse and deep rich complexity that can only be expressed from the extremes of mountain winemaking.
- From the North East you will try the powerful fruit with deep color, impressive balance and generous, but not necessarily harsh, tannins of the Howell mountain.
- From the Northwest, Spring Mountain gives you, comparatively, softer tannins, moderate yet still substantial fruit definition, and more supple mouthfeel.
- From the South West the starkness of Mt Veeder gives you a restraint in power and full structure that lasts in the mouth
- And finally from the South East at Atlas Peak which is probably the most complete and seamless of the lot with rich, lush and bold tannins and concentrated fruit flavors that explode on your palate.
Come and join us in our exploration and enjoyment of our mountain wines!
Varietals: Claret – 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, 12% Merlot, 11% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Atlas Peak
Acid: 6.14 g/l