Front Runners November 2015: Cellar Notes
A wine lover’s enjoyment of any bottle is often proportional to the number of years she or he has anticipated opening it. Yet the story of that wine begins decades before the cork is put in place, as winemaker extraordinaire Richard G. Peterson’s long career demonstrates. An innovator in the winery, Peterson recognizes that great wines begin in the soil, from which he consistently mines liquid gems. His latest jewel, Le Grand Bijou 2011 Brut Rosé ($1,125 per three-bottle case, 707.251.9300), scintillates in the glass and on the palate, conjuring layered flavors of cherry lozenge, wild strawberries, orange zest, and marzipan. The wine, however, is not all that sparkles: Each cork is capped with a decorative red gemstone—except for one, whose white stone can be exchanged for a flawless 1.55-carat white diamond from Kwiat of New York.
David Sinegal first experienced wine in the company of his father—and later in his father’s company, Costco, where he oversaw the selection of wines and spirits for the western United States. After leaving that position, Sinegal’s fascination with wine persisted, and in 2013, after searching for a vineyard property, he purchased the former Inglewood Estate in Napa Valley, which since 1879 has been home to a series of family-owned vineyards of distinction. Sinegal’s vision married the land’s history—its Victorian home and meticulously cultivated gardens—with the modern savvy of vineyard manager Jim Barbour, winemaker Tony Biagi, and winemaking consultant Craig Williams. The Sinegal Estate 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($195, sinegalestate.com) exhibits a seductive darkness, balancing its effusion of boysenberry, black licorice, and toasted cinnamon with a texture as supple and sleek as black satin.