In Vineyard Veritas: The Clos Pegase Estate
To be designated as "Estate bottled," Clos Pegase produces all of our wines from grapes grown exclusively in our own vineyards. It is the unique growing conditions of these Estate vineyards together with the characteristics of the vines that define our great Estate winery and our great Estate wine. Not every winery chooses to make this type of investment in quality. We wouldn't have it any other way.
It's a question of knowing -- and controlling -- exactly how every grape we work with makes its way from the soil to the glass. We never sacrifice quality in pursuit of larger yields, but rather insist on vigilant attention to viticultural practices which achieve an ideal balance of vigor and fruit load.
Our Estate vineyards are located at the extreme ends of the Napa Valley, a singular area where nature, guided by the skilled hands of grape grower and winemaker, has created one of the finest wine-producing regions of the world.
Our Estate vineyards are comprised of 450 acres, 90 acres of which are located in the warmer northern Calistoga appellation, with the balance in the cooler Los Carneros to the south, where the Napa Valley meets the San Francisco Bay.
Mitsuko's Vineyard is 365 acres of rolling hillsides nestled in the Napa Valley portion of the Los Carneros appellation. Because the vineyard has such a diverse range of soil types, elevations, slopes, aspects and microclimates, it was carefully studied, then planted to a number of different varieties (including Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and, surprisingly, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon), each selected to match its particular site. There aren't many Cabernet grapes grown in Carneros, but our vineyard includes a rocky, well-drained hillside that's proven ideal for Cabernet (despite -- or perhaps in keeping with -- its foreboding name, Graveyard Hill).
To the northeast of the town of Calistoga, situated in the foothills of Mount St. Helena, is our Tenma Vineyard --40 acres of ruggedly austere "horizontal hillside." Named for the Japanese word for "Pegasus," our Tenma estate is an alluvial fan spilling out of the Palisades Mountains in the northeastern corner of the Napa Valley. You're familiar with the saying "adversity builds character"? Well, here, the stony terrain produces some of the finest Cabernet grapes in the valley. The poor soil, deeply drained and low in organic content, yields a meager but exquisitely concentrated crop of Cabernet Sauvignon from our naturally self-regulating "old soldier" vines, providing the fine aromatics and plummy ripe fruit core of our Napa Valley and Hommage Cabernet blends.
Surrounding the Clos Pegase Winery are four acres of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings rooted in gravely Bale loam soils, known as Applebone Vineyard for the Mark di Suvero sculpture sharing the name. Our selection of the French Dijon Clone 191 ensures a small and concentrated crop of exceptional fruit, while our rootstock selection (420A) helps to limit vigor and eliminate green flavors which can be a characteristic of this variety. Most strikingly, perhaps, is the choice to plant in high density, which increases competition between vines for water and nutrients and increases concentration dramatically.
Just south of the town of Calistoga and directly south of the Winery, our Dunaweal Vineyard has fine Bale loam soils, characterized by a rich topsoil layer atop a well-drained layer of fine gravel. Formerly known as the Home Ranch, this sunny plain is home to fruit which develops complex notes of intense fruit complimented by spice notes. At this site, we've planted two of the blending varieties of Bordeaux--Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc--as well as Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah. The Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc are vinified separately and used to add a plush, rich element to our Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Estate Cuvee blends. The Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah are used for the popular Pegaso Red Wine, with a small amount of the Petite Sirah reserved for the Portico fortified dessert wine.
The qualities of our four Estate vineyard sites create the Clos Pegase style: the sunny warmth of the Dunaweal and Applebone Vineyards, the austere elegance of the Tenma Vineyard and the fog-shrouded coolness of Mitsuko's Vineyard. Rather than bending our wines to meet our whims, we let the vineyards be our guides; our charge is to capture and reflect their distinctive personalities in the glass.