These two wines from Atalon aim to capture the diversity of Napa Valley as a winegrowing region by blending grapes from several vineyard parcels taking account of soil types, slopes, altitude and exposure. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of five vineyard parcels from Rutherford, Atlas Peak, Oakville Estate Vineyard and elsewhere. The Pauliné Cuvée consists of grapes from as many as seven vineyards. Atalon also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, not reviewed here.
Atalon’s wine’s are made by winemaker Brian Kosi, a graduate of UC Davis with more than a decade of winemaking experience. These wines are well-crafted, Bordeaux-style blends with medium-weight palates, ripe fruit, and good structure. The winery is located in Calistoga.
Atalon 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($40) 90 The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Merlot and Petite Verdot. It offers aromas of black currant fruit with hints of herbs and sweet toasted oak. On the palate it is medium weight with an elegant but chalky mouth feel and good concentration of lush blackberry fruit. Aged in new French and American oak about 18 months, it has soft round tannins, excellent balance and a long finish. Well done. 7,000 cases.
Atalon 2011 Pauline’s Cuvée Napa Valley ($30) 88 The 2011 Pauline’s Cuvée is a blend of 63% Merlot, 31% Cabernet France and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. In contrast to the Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon, this bottling offers ripe dark red berry fruit on the nose with notes of sweet oak and spice. Aged 16 months in French and American oak, it is flavorful on the palate, although it is also dry and tart with some tannic grip. Sourced from six different Napa Valley vineyards. 3,024 cases.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler