After a disciplined night of ascetic, scientific rigor (and, uh, drinking), we have an official blend for our 2010 Peugeot. Here’s the thrill-packed, edge-of-your-seats story of how it all went down, in the two phases we went through it: assess the components, then concoct the blend.
Boy, does that sound like exciting reading or what?! Yeah? Okay, then: life insurance paid up? Great. Grab your micrometer and follow me…
As always, we began by tasting the components, beginning with the Cab Sauv. Still very young — definitely in need of one more racking — but firm and substantial. As I’ve noted before, this vintage gave us a huge gift of higher acidity, in this case putting all the complex flavors (black raspberry, dark cherries, even a hint of peach) into high-def.
From the first taste, it was clear the Merlot — never a huge component of the Peugeot — was destined for an even smaller role than normal. While the basic outlines of its Merlot-ness were fine, leaving it too long in new half barrel had rendered it way too woody to use in any quantity. Again, I think a hard racking will help, but this probably won’t be Merlot’s year to snatch the Oscar, that’s for sure.
Then the Franc. Always the defining cornerstone of the Peugeot, and this year, it’s absolutely fantastic. A lovely, floral (from stem to blossom) nose, beautiful and elegant in the mouth, lingering lovingly over a long finish. Again, the acidity of the vintage plays right into the Franc’s hand, balancing the depth of fruit we get from Elephant Mountain Vineyard with a vividness that takes you out of your glass and into a summer field in the Loire.
Lastly, the Syrah. We discovered that some of the ethyl acetate that’s apparently plagued a lot of winemakers this year (think fingernail polish) had snuck back into the Syrah, so we’ll be carpet bombing this sucker with sulfite, and stat. But after the EA blew off, the wine’s true nature unfurled, with lovely deep fruit and a hint of licorice. Last year was the first time we added Syrah into the Peug, so provided we can 86 the EA, it’ll definitely have a cameo this year, too.
Next, the scintillating blending trials themselves…