2007 Penché Argent Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

2007 Penché Argent Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

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A past Wine Access story about 2007 Penché Argent Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

2007 Penché “Argent” Proprietary Red — Wine Spectator 92pts — Direct from the Cellar


Based on tasting notes of bottles pulled recently from our cellars, Napa Valley’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignons — drawn from a monumental harvest that earned 96 points from Robert Parker and 97 from Wine Spectator — are just beginning to shed their baby fat, settling in for the long haul. If your cellars are loaded with 2007s, congratulations. You’re in for some unforgettable evenings in the years to come.

Alternatively, you can scour the cellars of Napa Valley looking for Library wines. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll catch a break as we did, and stumble upon a few cases of Wine Spectator’s 92-point 2007 Penché — crafted by Wine Spectator “Rising Star,” Jay Buoncristiani — offered at a price that’s 55% LESS than the release price of 2010!

Lots of successful people dream of buying a property in Napa Valley, living the good life as they tend a few acres of world-class Cabernet. Unfortunately, many quickly learn that the “good life” and wine-growing don’t always go hand in hand. Such was the case for Bay Area orthodontist Scott Asbill.

In 2002, just a short time after the Asbills purchased this small property where a 250-year-old oak tree leans precariously over the house, an insidious rumor made its way up the valley. Word had it that the vine mealybug was infesting the fine, nutrient-rich soils of Oak Knoll. Paula Asbill was concerned. Scott couldn’t sleep. One morning, Paula awoke early and made her way to the kitchen to perk the first pot of coffee of the day. She found her husband sitting at the breakfast counter, already on edge, loaded for bear. An hour later, armed with just two toothbrushes, they walked each row and inspected every plant, pulling back bark on anything that looked suspicious, then scrubbing the wood with toothbrushes to remove any trace of the mealybug.

Obsessive grape-growing stories like these have a way of making their way into the Napa Valley underground, often drawing the attention of the most innovative winemakers on the Silverado Trail. Soon after Jay Buoncristiani heard the story, he made his way to Oak Knoll to meet the orthodontist-turned-grape-grower, hoping to buy some fruit for his family’s Buoncristiani Winery. But when “J-Bone” saw first-hand how meticulously Scott Asbill was farming his vineyard, the winemaker decided to do one better. He and Asbill agreed to team up to make just a few hundred cases of Cabernet. Asbill named his brand Penché, for the leaning oak tree.

The Asbills’ vineyard sits in the middle of one of the wider points of the Napa Valley. Like most of the valley floor in the surrounding Oak Knoll District, the vineyard is planted on alluvial soils intermixed with gravel and clay. As the Oak Knoll District is far enough south to take full advantage of the morning fog that drifts in on summer mornings from the San Pablo Bay, even in a warm vintage like 2007 that moderating influence took the sting out of the summer sun, allowing Asbill to delay harvest until early October, making for the sensational 2007 Penché “Argent” Proprietary Red.

Jay Buoncristiani’s 2007 Penché “Argent” is dark purple. Still primary and quite youthful aromatically, showing little sign of its six years of bottle age. Infused with precise aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, mocha, clove, and cedar. Rich, dense, yet now beautifully composed. Packed with crushed black- and red-fruit preserves. All of the opulence of the vintage buttressed by fine, dusty tannins. Arguing, as Wine Spectator did, for another 5-7 years of cellar slumber.

92 points from Wine Spectator. $58 on release. Just $32 for a very short time this morning — ONLY on WineAccess. Total production: 260 cases. The last 300 bottles of the vintage are now up for grabs.

Expert Ratings and Reviews

92 Points Wine Spectator
90 Points Wine Advocate

Customer Ratings

Based on 43 ratings

Ordered 2 cases last year - should have ordered 10 cases - gets better every time we enjoy it - only a couple of bottles left. :-(

Wine had turned on it way to a good vinegar. 0 stars. Great disappointment.

Deep brooding nose: Blueberry, blackberry, hints of vanilla and cedar. Clean, pure fruit-forward. Much too soft and fruity, Nice structure faintly emerges on the back end, and towards the end of the glass. A lot appears to be going on beneath, but right now its flat and uni-dimensional with no length, depth, character, intensity or complexity. Appears dumb. Hopefully it will wake up and come to life! Fascinating, This wine continues to ramp up. Each day it gains weight and complexity. While neither intense nor profound, it's no longer flat or uni dimensional. As a quiet wine, its rather intriguing. Now at day 8, it has only gotten better, even some elements of the nose are preserved, confirming its dormancy.

Other Vintages of Penché Argent Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

Napa Valley 2007

The 2007 vintage is an excellent year that came together in the end to produce a sizeable crop of uniformly great wines throughout the state. The wines have plenty of depth and richness, ample acidity, and are focused and detailed. Many compare it to 2001 in style and it’s a vintage to buy with confidence across the board.

A dry winter was followed by a warm, dry spring, bringing an early start to the ripening cycle. Fine weather prevailed through the moderate to coolish summer with notably few days of triple-digit temperatures, and even fewer-than-average days around 90°F. Chardonnay harvest began a bit early, as warm weather arrived in Napa in mid-August and lasted through early September before cooling significantly. Rain fell mid-month but with little impact, as many early ripeners were already in — Cabernets and Merlot weren’t affected and had plenty of time to rebalance afterwards. Rain returned in the second week of October, but again with little impact. Warm, sunny conditions returned right after the rain, and harvest was concluded in excellent weather by the end of the month.

2007 produced a healthy crop of grapes that, as in so many great years, enjoyed a moderate growing season free of extremes. It is a big, ripe, full-bodied vintage that produced classic California Cabs and has buyers and sellers smiling — one to buy with confidence!

Key Dates

Moderate rain falls

Slight rainfall leads to favorable harvest conditions

Dryness of winter continues through the season

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