Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Peirson Meyer and L'Angevin Wines

Peirson Meyer and L'Angevin Wines are producing some truly remarkable wines, including some of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs and an amazing Pinot Noir.  Our visit and tasting was one of the most enjoyable and memorable events we have experienced in over forty years of visits to hundreds of wineries.  Because they produce their wines at the Cuvaison Estate Winery in Calistoga and do not have their own winery or tasting room yet, our tasting was at the winemaker's home in Angwin.

Winemaker's home

I had written to the winemaker, Robbie Meyer,  telling him how much I loved his Peirson-Meyer 2010 Ryan's Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and asking if there was any chance of being able to taste some of his other wines.  He was gracious enough to extend an invitation to us.  My favorite winery visits are always those where I am able to meet and converse with the winemaker.  Mr. Meyer's deep passion, love and enthusiasm for wine, along with the superb quality of his wines, made this an experience we will long remember.

Front yard

In addition to being the winemaker, Mr. Meyer is part owner and co-founder of the two labels Peirson Meyer and L'Angevin.  L'Angevin (pronounced "lonj-ven.") is actually named after his maternal grandparents and was his first label that was founded with Alan Peirson in 2001.  Their initial release was a 2001 Chardonnay that was released in 2003.  In 2005 they founded the Peirson-Meyer label and their first release on that label was a 2005 Chardonnay released in 2007.  All current releases are on the Peirson-Meyer label now, but some L'Angevin Wines might be produced in the future.  Their wives, Lesley Warner-Peirson and Shannon Meyer, are also actively involved, making both of these wineries family owned and operated by the two families.

Back yard

Mr. Meyer is very pleasant, quite articulate and exceptionally knowledgeable, so we loved talking with him about wine and winemaking.  He began learning about wines at a high-end restaurant where he worked at age 16.  By age 18 he was a wine steward.  After obtaining his B.S. in Biology at the University of Georgia, he moved to California and soon enrolled at UC Davis where he obtained his Master's degree in Enology.  He worked for five vintages at Peter Michael Winery and for two vintages as winemaker for Lewis Cellars.  In addition to being the winemaker for Peirson-Meyer and L'Angevin Wines, he is a consulting winemaker for several other wineries in Napa Valley and for another in Santa Barbara.  But Mr. Meyer is more than simply another winemaker.  He has taken the intricate craft of winemaking to the level of an art form.  He is an enological artist.  (Alan Peirson is also an artist, focusing on ceramic work and sculptures of clay, wood, stone and bronze, plus vineyard management.) During our long meeting with Mr. Meyer, he shared some of his artistic vision and ideas about wines and winemaking, creating a unique experience for us that was very enjoyable and highly informative. After we tasted his wines, we concluded that Robbie Meyer is more than a craftsman and an artist; he is also an enological magician.

Robbie Meyer
Winemaker and Co-owner

Their focus is on four varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon (including a Cabernet blend) and Pinot Noir.  Grapes are sourced from small, ultra-premium vineyards in California.  Their Chardonnay is either from Heintz Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast appellation where they have 25 acres of 40 year old vines, or from the Russian River Valley.  Sauvignon Blanc is from Ryan's Vineyard in Oak Knoll (25 acres of 15 year old vines) or from Kent Ritchie Vineyard in the Russian River Valley where the vines are forty years old.  Pinot Noir is from the Bateman Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast appellation north of Sebastopol where they have ten year old vines.  All of their Cabernet Sauvignon is from Napa Valley, including Pritchard Hill.

Back yard

Our tasting began with the Peirson Meyer 2013 Ritchie Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley at $32.  It was whole cluster pressed, with wild yeast fermentation and barrel fermented in neutral oak for eight months.  Mr. Meyer explained why he thinks that with Sauvignon blanc aging in neutral oak is preferable to stainless steel.  No malolactic conversion was used.  Only 200 cases were produced.  On the nose I got a good aroma of citrus and peach.  On the palate I got white peach and grapefruit with good acid and a rich full mouthfeel that was amazingly well balanced and voluptuous while bursting with fresh fruit.  It had a long, excellent finish.  What I love about Peirson Meyer Sauvignon Blancs is their impeccable balance and perfect integration.  All of the components come together beautifully and harmoniously.  This 2013 Ritchie Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is amazingly fresh and simply superb, an example of California Sauvignon Blanc at its very finest!

Back yard

The second pour was the Peirson Meyer 2012 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast ($55.)  I did not have the production notes on this vintage but the previous 2011 had a release of only 100 cases.  This 2012 saw full malolactic conversion but at a cooler temperature, making it very smooth but not buttery. On the nose I got mostly apricot, vanilla and some floral notes with minerality.  It was rich, smooth, creamy and full bodied on the palate with apricot, apple, vanilla, some minerality and great balance.  Finish was medium plus in length. Very nice.

Front yard

Our third wine was the fantastic Peirson Meyer 2012 Bateman Vineyard Pinot Noir at $60.  I got mostly red cherry and floral aromas on the nose.  On the palate it was rather full bodied and lush for a Pinot Noir but impeccably balanced.  This is one of those rare wines with such wonderful fruit, balance and nuance that it is a pure physical pleasure to retain it in the mouth.  I got rich, red cherry, vanilla and honeysuckle with undercurrents of subtle floral notes, accompanied by an incredibly long, beautiful, concentrated finish of rich, ripe black cherry and vanilla that seemed to continued forever.  My friend, who usually prefers Cabs to Pinots, was simply floored by this Pinot saying, "Wow.  This is just amazing!"  (He purchased a case of it.)  This is simply one of the finest California Pinot Noirs I've tasted, and it should even improve with some age. 

Front road

Our final pour was the Peirson Meyer 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at $90.  I got mostly cherry on the nose followed on the palate by juicy black cherry and black current that was very well balanced and silky, laced with soft, smooth tannins.  Although very drinkable, this is still a young wine with some "baby fat."  Its freshness and balance make it very appealing now, but it will continue to improve with time. 

Back yard

Needless to say, we very highly recommend Peirson Meyer and L'Angevin Wines.  Although we really liked all of their wines, we especially loved the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Noir, two very special wines. Peirson Meyer and L'Angevin Wines is not open to the public, but you may call or email them to inquire about a possible tasting.  They are hoping to purchase a tasting room on Highway 29 in Napa Valley, so we will certainly report on that as soon as we learn of it.   They have a web page for locating their wines: Wine locator Some of their wines are available at Groezinger Wine Merchants  in Yountville.  They will also ship their wines:  Peirson Meyer shopping

Where we tasted

Peirson Meyer Wines / L'Angevin, LLC
PO Box 408
Oakville CA 94562
Phone: 707-944-1352
Date of visit: June 25, 2014

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