(2016) No oak in this Cru – the only grand Cru without oak. On top of the Grand Cru on part Portlandian soils, so Benoit does not want to swamp the delicate aromas. Plenty of flinty reduction here, the ultra-freshness of the palate is stirking with streamlined salts and a juiciness. A very quiet wine, not shouting, but lovely and so refined.
(2015) Lovely nutty character with really dry acid structure, I am guessing this is France again, maybe northern again, if not Chablis then maybe Puligny? Lots of racy character but beautiful balance and the saline lick of the finish.Tasted blind. Price is in-bond.
(2014) I had not tasted Paul's top wine from the Napa Valley since the 2005 vintage, which was not a great one. And 2009? "It's the year when the tail end of a typhoon swept through the vineyards just at harvest time. It left in its wake a lot of humidity, and you could see grapes turning to "fuzz" in front of your eyes. We had to hand-pick everything because the tractors could not get into the vineyards, but we brought in some really nice fruit." 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the nose is so complex, so cedary and tobacco-touched, with a tiny note of green olive and graphite over very refined black fruit - hinting at blueberry and damson blackness. The palate displays such beautiful graphite, edgy, superbly poised black fruit. There's a light resinous quality, but it is really just concentration of sheer and smooth tannins and fruit. There really is copious sweet fruit, but always edged with that sheerness and grip. Lovely balance, the final impression is all about sweet, ripe, rounded and supple black fruit.
(2001) Wonderfully fruity, open nose with raspberry – almost jammy – aromas and a background of gentle oak, again supported by a gamy, animal depth. This has fine structure again, with a big, clamping streak of tannins over firm, muscular fruit and again terrific length.
(2001) A little bit reductive at first, then those schisty, gravelly qualities break through, along with leather, game and deep berry fruit. The palate is powerful and muscular, quite sinewy with chewy black fruit and massive, dense tannins. This has wonderful concentration and is extremely long. Excellent and again, a profound wine to be cellared.
(2001) Beautifully alluring nutty nose, lots of buttery Brazil nut and hazelnut notes, even a waxiness along with peachy fruit and hints of blossom. The palate has fine quality, with tight, focused, plum and apricot fruit and a lovely waxy quality to the texture. This wine feels as if it is resolving itself from powerful separate components, and is very well-balanced into a long, lingering and complex finish. Excellent.