April 21, 2017

The eagerly-anticipated 2014 Togni's have arrived!

Philip Togni 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Retail:  $252.95  (12 btl/cs)

Philip Togni 2014 'Tanbark Hill' Cab
Retail:  $104.95  (12 btl/cs)


Philip Togni 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain, Napa

This is the 'flagship' wine, estate grown and bottled at the Togni's home near the crest of Spring Mountain. This is a 10 acre vineyard overlooking St. Helena and the Napa Valley 2000 feet below. A student of Emile Peynaud in the 1950s, Philip remains a classicist, and his Cabernet is a Margaux-inspired blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot & Cabernet Franc. Assisted since 1994 by his daughter Lisa, she is now the winemaker, mentored by her father in the cellar and her mother Birgitta in the vineyards. 1600 cases of this wine were produced in 2014.

97 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
"Togni's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is quite dark and powerful, but also very much medium in body. Graphite, smoke, savory herbs, mint, leather and a core of inky dark red and purplish fruit infuse this deep, beautifully layered Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 is a wine built on energy and aromatics that won't hit its stride until at least age ten."

94+ points – Robert Parker, RobertParker.com
"The flagship wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from his vineyard high on Spring Mountain is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It seems slightly more approachable and civilized for a young Togni wine, with a dense ruby/purple color, loads of blackcurrant, licorice, and graphite, some earth and spice, but very subtle earth nuances. It is full-bodied and rich, but the tannins are well-integrated and don’t scream as loudly as some vintages of Togni can. For Togni, this is probably one of his more forward and precociously styled Cabernets. It will probably approach drinkability in several years, but don’t discount its aging potential, as this easily has 20-25 years of cellaring potential.
I have Philip Togni's vintages going back to the mid-1980s, and these are truly long-lived classics of Napa Valley. As I have written many times, one of the greatest Napa Cabernet Sauvignons I have ever tasted was one made by Philip Togni while working at Chappellet, the 1969 Chappellet. His wines definitely stand the test of time, although sometimes they are a bit rugged and unapproachable in their youth."


Philip Togni 2014 'Tanbark Hill', Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mtn.

In the Bordeaux traditon, this is Togni's 'second wine', made from younger vines & declassified lots. Still 100% Estate grown, Tanbark Hill is made in a softer, earlier-drinking style; and does not include any 'press wine', meaning there is less tannin. The wine is intended for restaurants, recognizing that both lower price and immediate consumption are required, although we regularly keep Tanbark for 10 years or more with great success.

90 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Tanbark Hill Vineyard is an attractive wine, although the effects of the drought are felt in the wine's somewhat stressed personality and roasted fruit profile. Savory, ripe and expressive, the 2014 Tanbark Hill is a pretty Cabernet to enjoy over the next handful of years."

89 points – Robert Parker Jr., RobertParker.com
"Classicist Philip Togni’s second wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Tanbark Hill Vineyard, is 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and displays classic crème de cassis, cedar wood and underbrush in a medium-bodied, nicely textured style There’s plenty of fruit, the tannins are ripe, and the wine is a dense ruby purple in color. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.


Lisa, Birgitta & Philip Togni in the Cellar - these barrels show their entire production for 2016

Philip Togni is a true icon of the California wine industry, and its a great honour to know him.  We have represented Philip Togni Vineyard in Ontario since the 1997 vintage.  As noted by Mr. Parker above, his 1969 Chappellet Cab is legendary (one fo the few California Cabs that is counterfeited).  Philip arrived in California in 1958, after studying and working in Bordeaux and Chile.  He was the first winemaker at Chalone, worked at Mayacamas (pre-Travers family), Cuvaison, Chappellet, and others.  Philip and Birgitta released the first wines from their own estate in 1983.  Lisa joined her parents full-time in 1994, after working in California, Bordeaux and Australia (in distribution and winemaking).  This is a very small winery, producing hand-crafted, strictly estate-grown wines.  Annual production is typically under 2,000 cases.  The winery itself is a model of efficiency.  Built down the hillside, its 'gravity-flow' flow design minimizes harsh handling of the wines.  Solar panels provide electricity for the winery and home.

I highly recommend that you listen to an in-depth interview with Philip Togni by Geoff Kruth on GuildSomm.  You'll learn a lot about the Califorinia wine industry, as well as Philip's fascinating history.  It's an hour well spent.  Click here