A $100 Togni Cabernet for $35
Okay, the title of this post might be a little misleading. The wine discussed here is not THE $100 Philip Togni Cabernet but it is made by the same person, comes from the same vineyard, and ages in the same 40% new French oak barrels as the $100 wine. This wine, at 1/3 the price, is simply from the barrels that didn’t make the cut for the more expensive version.
Try this analogy: I recently bought a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The sales guy told me “you’re basically getting a Mercedes ML350 for $20k less”. You see, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee was built on the same platform as the Merc. Same frame, suspension, steering, some of the interior bits. Sure it doesn’t have as many gadgets and it’s not quite as flashy, but the most important parts are Mercedes.
The same goes for Philip Togni’s Tanbark Cabernet. It drives like a Mercedes. Mountain fruit makes this wine at once huge and polished. I opened it Saturday and at that time, the nose was almost absent. So I took a chance and left it open overnight. The next day, it had a beautiful floral nose and an exceptionally broad palate of bright fruit and an endless finish that truly defines this as an exceptional wine.
Togni’s $100 Cabernet is a 40 year wine. This might well be a 20 year wine but I’d challenge anyone to hold onto it that long! At $35 and a 93 point rating from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, it will be one of the better values to come out of the 2009 vintage.
Wine Advocate 93 points
The 2009 Tanbark Hill is a rich, voluptuous wine graced with layers of expressive fruit, smoke and tobacco. It shows quite a bit of depth for this bottling. Licorice, crushed flowers, spices and mint wrap around the plush, inviting finish. This is all elegance and class. In 2009 one-third of the production was bottled as Tanbark Hill. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.
This is a breathtaking set of wines from Philip, Birgitta and Lisa Togni. Philip Togni hardly needs an introduction to lovers of fine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Since his epic 1969 Cabernet Sauvignon at Chappellet, Togni has crafted a series of impeccable, breathtaking wines. It is amazing to consider that Togni’s wines remain so reasonably priced when an endless number of new wineries with no track record seem to pop up every day with first releases well over $100 a bottle. The winery is very much a family affair, with Birgitta and, increasingly, Lisa Togni running the show. On an earlier visit this year I tasted the 1987, a wine that remains dazzling for its purity. From time to time Togni releases a small amount of wines from their library, usually at the 10th anniversary of an important vintage. I also tasted the 2008s, sleeper wines from an under-the-radar vintage that will thrill those who have the patience to cellar them. The Cabernet Sauvignon (here referred to as the Main Label) generally includes a dollop of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The estate’s Tanbark Hill is a second selection made from the barrels that don’t go into the Cabernet Sauvignon. All of the wines see approximately 40% new oak from four different tonneliers. Readers who want to learn more about the 2011 harvest at Togni may want to take a look at my video interview with Philip and Lisa Togni on www.erobertparker.com