“Wine enters through the mouth, Love, the eyes. I raise the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, I sigh.”
  ― William Butler Yeats

I’m sorry WSET.  At my age and with my eyesight, I can’t see the difference between Deep Purple, Ruby, Garnet or Tawny.  (I’m going with Garnet on this one).  But looking at Jayson’s 2010 red wine Napa Valley, I can tell that it paints the glass with Napa Valley color.  Rich, ripe juice with deep fruit that is so particular to and characteristic of Napa Valley.  Decadent. So deep it absorbs light like velvet without a sheen.  It is one of my “markers” in blind tastings even before inhaling the wine’s aroma.

If you’re a fan of Napa juice, this may be your chosen glass.  At 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s only 3% shy of being eligible to be labeled as such.  Merlot makes up 17% with 6% from Cabernet Franc and the 5% being made up from Malbec.  The significant percentage of Merlot softens the blend allowing for the wine’s drinkability on release. It is produced and bottled by Pahlmeyer in Oakville, California and modeled after the blends of Bordeaux, if you accept that Napa can model Bordeaux.

Pahlmeyer is one of those names that causes heads to turn and draws “oohs and aahs” in the trade.  “Jayson” wines are created from declassified Pahlmeyer lots, a concept that began in Bordeaux in the 18th century as a means of using high quality lots not chosen for a chateau’s premier wines. Some wineries may attach an initial and the numeral “2” as an indication on the label when doing this.  Others (particularly in France) will use different names entirely with little indication on the label that the wine has been declassified (so you may not know it is attached to the famous estate).  In “Jayson,” all the grapes for this wine are grown and vinified by the same standards as for Pahlmeyer wines.    

“Jayson” was awarded 90 points from Wine Spectator, commenting that the wine was “… pure, rich and persistent, displaying a vivid core of blackberry, expresso, vanilla bean and dried herb notes.”   I didn’t get the expresso, but enjoyed brown spice that they did not mention.

 Whatever you detect, I encourage you to decant this wine and save a remainder for the second day.  In my tasting (the first day) I decanted a half bottle, allowed it to air for just under two hours and thought the nose to be all berry dominant.  This was enhanced with hints of allspice and clove. The taste was all rich and ripe berry (black) fruit with cassis underlying The texture was syrupy and glycerin-like; the wine full-bodied.  As a “Bordeaux”, it lacked (for me) the dust and earthiness of “old world” wine.  Although dry, it was not “chewy.”  In fact, it gave me a “sweet” impression from its level of sun-drenched, warm weather fruit ripeness.  Tannins were so smooth they were absorbed into the fruit. All this is intended to be descriptive, not critical.  If you find red wine, in general, too dry or your special guest does, again – this could be the wine you want in your glass.

On the second day, the wine developed more complexity: adding notes of plum. And the berry notes became more blackberry compote-like incorporating notes of pastry. Allspice and clove were retained, joined by a whisper of pepper.  Most interesting was a taste of unsweetened cherry on the finish that remained on the palate throughout the long finish extended by spot-on acidity.  But all palates are personal and correct for the person owning them.  Notes from the winemaker refer to a flavor of sun-warmed figs. I didn’t get that.  Nor did I get the references to “expresso.”

What I got was a rich and supple, easy drinking wine that presents itself elegantly and with a luscious mouthfeel.   

…………….. Jim

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Jayson-Pahlmeyer Winery:          https://www.pahlmeyer.com/
811 St Helena Hwy South
St Helena, CA 94574
(707) 255-2321

ALC:                                                       15.2%
ARP:                                                       $55 (Current Vintages

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