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"Our first ten vintages at Panek we worked with the same five blocks, one acre parcels of clones 4, 6, 7, 169 and 337. These five front blocks at Panek were all planted in 2006 and have been cane pruned since their inception. We always felt fortunate to have this much high-quality fruit to select from when finalizing the Panek blend every year. In 2018, the Panek family offered us the whole ranch, turning over the three older vine, cordon trained blocks in the back of the property. Not knowing quite what to expect, we vinified and barreled these separately. These naturally lower yielding parcels produced wines of enormous concentration and color. As we sat down to blend, we realized all of these wines were of single vineyard quality, some were even better than most of the blocks we had been working with the last ten years. Eventually we singled out a small block of clone 191 as the most logical addition to the 2018 Panek blend. This block added a tremendous amount of structure to the wine, something that is occasionally lacking from this site. It also darkened the fruit profile pushing the wine from a red/black profile to the a more purple/black expression. The vineyard signature is still there of course but feels fuller and more impactful. Purple flowers, graphite, cassis and smoke jump out of the glass at first inspection. The texture is more layered this year, due in part to both the vintage and the inclusion of a new block from the vineyard. The palate turns very stony early and then veers to blueberries, dark chocolate and some meaty, iron notes as the finish kicks in. I thought we had taken this about as far as we could with the 2016 but the 2018 is at another level."
-Thomas River's Brown on the 2018 Vintage
Made entirely from estate-grown organically farmed grapes, including 14% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot, this is a dense expression of brambly blackberry, strawberry and darker notions of tobacco and toasted oak. It has a beautiful bouquet of earthy tobacco and iron, powerful yet structured and dazzling in spice and dried herb.
$133.00This Cabernet Sauvignon has the depth and color of a finely faceted garnet. It is opulent in every way beginning with aromas of ripe black cherry, cigar box, sweet leather and currants. The luscious mid-palate flavors are mouth coating and multi-layered with a bright mixture of berries, cedar, tarragon and candied cherries. The wine lingers with juicy texture and a gentle but solid structure of fine tannins. Drink now though 2029.
According to many, including David White of The Terroirist Wine Journal, "Thomas Brown is the nation's hottest winemaker." Thomas Brown is one of only a handful of winemakers globally to have received multiple 100-point wine scores (25 to be precise) from penultimate wine critic Robert Parker Jr. of The Wine Advocate, as well as from wine critic luminary, James Laube of The Wine Spectator. In 2010, Thomas was honored as Food & Wine Magazine "Winemaker of the Year."
From Thomas Rivers Brown on this wine...
"The composition of our 2017 Napa appellation wine is a skinnier version of the 2016: clone 4 from Panek, a small upper block of Lore and two blocks from Kennedy Vineyard on Franz Valley School Road in Calistoga. Kennedy was good enough to bottle on its own but with our future there lacking certainty, it made sense to drop it into the Napa. Once again, this bottling gives good insight into how the upvalley fared in 2017. By combining Oakville, St. Helena and Calistoga, we also were able to feature earlier ripening AVAs that are more accustomed to handling the intense heat of Napa’s summer. These two attributes proved to be the perfect combo in this vintage. The wine comes across as more savory than sweet showing notes of gravel, graphite, crushed rock, sage and black fruits. There’s good extract to the wine which gives it a bone dry quality. The barrel program is nicely integrated and sweet oak tannin helps give the wine some generosity. "