2003 Pirouette

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2003 Pirouette
2003 Pirouette

Philippe Melka and Agustin Huneeus, Sr. teamed to combine the traditions of old world winemaking, the advancements of new world technology, and small lots from Washington State's finest vineyards to craft this enticing red blend.

Pirouette is a richly concentrated red blend, offering a seamless balance of power and elegance. Layers of ripe plum, black cherry and wild berry flavors are highlighted by hints of mocha and spice across a long, silky finish.



Download Wine Notes
VarietalRed Blend
Varietal Composition56% Cabernet Sauvignon
22% Merlot
10% Syrah
9% Cabernet Franc
3% Petit Verdot
AppellationColumbia Valley
AgingDrink now through 2013
Wine StyleRed Wine
Volume750 ml



"The 2003 Pirouette (500 cases) reveals a super nose of sweet black fruits, tar, and licorice. An immensely broad wine, it unleashes creamy waves of black fruits on the palate that are powerfully flavored and linger throughout its extensive finish. An immensely lush, engaging effort, it reveals excellent tannin and ripeness. Drink it over the next 12-14 years."




"A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, Pirouette gives off scents of red cherry grounded by oak. That fruit comes to the fore in the wine’s flavor, generous yet light on its feet, with a mildly smoky finish that grows in complexity after a day open. 500 cases."




"Focused and spicy, with lots of chocolaty oak around a vibrant core of currant and plum fruit, persisting nicely on the supple finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2012."




"Dusty, toasty and showing lots of coffee aromas, it hits the palate quite soft, seamless, classy, rich and luscious in a Napa Valley style."

Creating complexity and layers in a wine is due in part to vineyard selection.  To that end, the winemakers chose a diverse selection of Columbia Valley vineyard sites, each contributing a unique character to the blend.  Grapes from the Wahluke Slope (31%) provided richness, concentration and dark fruit; Horse Heaven Hills vineyards (32%) contributed depth; Walla Walla (25%) added ripe fruit character; the Yakima Valley (9%) gave the wine its balance and acidity; Petit Verdot from Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain (3%) further enhanced balance and complexity.

After two earlier appearances in Napa Valley, Philippe Melka returned in 1994.  He swiftly rose to prominence and is now widely recognized as one of the leading craftsmen of his trade.  Melka’s talents are the consequence of an ideal juxtaposition – the geologist’s feel for terroir, the traveler’s familiarity with far-flung wineries and estates, and a vintner’s passion to produce the very best.
Melka graduated from the University of Bordeaux, France, where he received a degree in geology in 1989.  In his final year, he took a course in Terroir and Viticulture, and thereafter aspired to become a winemaker.  After earning a second degree in Agronomy and Enology, he began to apply what he learned during stints at prestigious wineries in Australia, Italy, California and France (Petrus, Haut Brion and Dominus, among others).
Since his return to Napa Valley, Melka’s technical expertise has contributed to the production of several highly acclaimed wines from a number of elite estates, including Marston, Seavey, Constant, Lail, Bryant Family, Caldwell, Quintessa, Hundred Acre, and Vineyard 29.
Some of the most exciting wines crafted by Melka are from his own labels, Metisse & CJ.  These meritage blends pay homage to Melka’s French influence (new oak aging, extended skin contact and gentle handling techniques) as portraitures of classic structure, balance and elegance.
Melka’s blends are also influenced by the effects of terroir on each harvested lot.  Although subtly nuanced to most, they are prominent and critical to Melka the geologist.  It is the creative touch of Melka the winemaker, by which his wines exude the complexities and full flavors that distinguish his talents from the rest. 
Philippe Melka and his wife, Cherie, reside at Melka Cellars in Napa Valley. Cherie is an accomplished wine professional and laboratory manager at Silver Oak.
Agustin Huneeus, Sr. embarked upon his legendary career as a winemaker over four decades ago.  He founded premier wineries both in California and Chile, and guided others to worldwide acclaim. He is perhaps best known for his artistry and innovative techniques resulting in critically acclaimed wines crafted in the Bordeaux tradition.
Wines and wineries achieving prominence under Agustin’s hand include Veramonte (Primus) and Concha y Toro of Chile, and Franciscan Oakville Estate, Mount Veeder, Estancia and Quintessa of California. He is considered a trail blazer with his Cuvee Sauvage, Napa Valley’s first wild-yeast fermented Chardonnay, and Magnificat, one of Napa Valley’s first Bordeaux style proprietary blends.
To most vintners, a wine is a Chardonnay, perhaps, or a Zinfandel, or a Merlot. To Agustin, a wine is the embodiment of a place. Its heritage, its terroir, - its ‘somewhereness’, in his words – matters most. Meritage wines, those artful blends that pay tribute to the winemaker rather than to the variety, exemplify the Huneeus principle of “attaching wine to a place.” Agustin’s famous Quintessa, a 100 point winner (1999), testifies to the wisdom of his philosophy of allowing the vineyard to express itself.
Agustin served as Chairman of the 1996 Napa Valley Wine Auction, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Wine Spectator Magazine that same year. He is the former president and current chairman of Franciscan Estates, a winery he brought from obscurity to world prominence.  Along with his winery at Long Shadows Vintners, Agustin retains ownership in Veramonte and Quintessa. He resides at Quintessa Estates with his wife, Valeria, who holds a Ph.D., and is a scientist and viticulturist.

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