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Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon Estate 2019, 0.75L

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Region: Spring Mountain District, California, United States
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvginon
Classification:
Importer: CA Winery Direct / Local Dist.
Score: 96AG
Review: "The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a classy, sophisticated wine that shows the more restrained side of the year and this site. I imagine the 2019 will flesh out in time. Bright acids, red-toned fruit, dried herbs, mint and silky tannins convey finesse more than power. I especially admire the aromatics today. I can't wait to see how this ages."

Staff Notes:
"The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a classy, sophisticated wine that shows the more restrained side of the year and this site. I imagine the 2019 will flesh out in time. Bright acids, red-toned fruit, dried herbs, mint and silky tannins convey finesse more than power. I especially admire the aromatics today. I can't wait to see how this ages." ‚Äč96 Antonio Galloni, Vinous

“The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a classic Togni wine, meant to be laid down for at least a decade and capable of aging well for 20 years beyond that in a cool cellar. Hints of green olive and thyme add savory nuance to the raspberry and cassis shadings on the nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate is concentrated into a dense, streamlined shape that throws off waves of dusty tannins, buffered by hints of cedar and vanilla, with lingering cassis notes on the finish. Earlier this year, I was able to arrange a visit with Philip and Birgitta Togni. Now in their mid-90s, their daughter Lisa is largely running the show, but we spent some socially distanced time outside talking about their early days on Spring Mountain. Not surprisingly, the Glass fire was the first topic of conversation, as there were scorched tree trunks all around, and a crew of workers were cutting and removing dead and fallen trees. ‘Our neighbors [Lokoya] saved us,’ said Philip. It is an untold story of the recent fires in California, that in the wake of overstretched government-funded firefighting departments, private companies with deep pockets have had to contribute to the defense of their own properties—but they have also come to the aid of their neighbors. ‘We've been lucky to be here for 45 years,’ said Birgitta. The two of them have been in Napa since 1959, when Philip started working for Mayacamas. He later moved on to work for Chapellet—helping establish their vineyard on Pritchard Hill and making their legendary 1969 Cabernet Sauvignon—and Cuvaison, where he was working as winemaker, when, as Philip tells it, ‘Birgitta said, 'Let's not work for somebody else.' ‘ By 1981, they had purchased 25 acres on Spring Mountain and planted 4.5 acres—three of them devoted to Sauvignon Blanc, ‘for cashflow,’ said Philip. They made their first Cabernet in 1983 but replanted in 1985—most of their current vines date to then, a mix of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. ‘I made the '56 Château Lascombes,’ said Philip. ‘So, I mirrored that cépage.’ Lisa Togni, who has an MBA and worked harvests in Australia (twice) and at Léoville Barton, said, ‘So much of what we do here is similar to how things used to be done in the Médoc. If we can grow good grapes, the winemaking is easy.’ The vineyards now encompass a total of 10.5 acres, with two parcels that produce softer, less tannic wines, devoted to the production of Tanbark Hill. Yields are thinned to three tons per acre, never supplemented by outside fruit. But despite the small size of the estate, 10-ton fermenters are the norm. ‘We prefer the larger volume, for higher-temperature fermentations,’ said Lisa. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel, with about 40% new French oak. The family does plan to bottle 2020 wines this summer. ‘We picked well before the Glass fire,’ said Lisa. ‘We'd just pressed the day before.’ Later, we went down into the cellar to taste, still being careful to stay far apart—Philip sat on a stool about 30 feet away. We didn't look at barrel samples on this occasion, but we did taste the current releases (2019) and a couple of library releases that are made available to long-term customers. These remain benchmark mountain Cabernets, with decades of aging potential.” 95+ Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate

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