2012 Pirouette

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2012 Pirouette
2012 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.

Mother Nature handed Columbia Valley winemakers a near perfect growing season in 2012. Early spring days were warm; April conditions were ideal, then temperatures cooled considerably in May and June before warming for the summer and remaining consistent throughout harvest. Small berries ripened perfectly, yielding wines loaded with intense flavor and rich, balanced tannins in the finished wine.

A deep, dark wine packed with engaging aromas of fresh blueberry and dark chocolate, the 2012 Pirouette is rich and complex from start to finish. Refined and textured on the palate with lively, mouth-filling blackberry jam flavors accompanied by hints of spice and fig that carry across a lingering finish.


Download Wine Notes
VarietalRed Blend
Varietal Composition65% Cabernet Sauvignon
16% Merlot
12% Petit Verdot
7% Cabernet Franc
AppellationColumbia Valley
Acid.57 grams / 100ml
Volume750 ml



"Another impeccable effort from this estate, the 2012 Pirouette checks in as a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc, all of which was barrel fermented (in 400L barrels) and spent 22 months in 75% new French oak. Full-bodied, rich, concetrated and textured, with no shortage of fruit, it offers loads of chocolaty black fruits, cedar, lead pencil shavings and hints of graphite on the nose. Like most 2012s, it has ample underlying tannin that's mostly hidden by the exuberant fruit and texture of the vintage."



"Classic aromas of cassis, minerals, licorice, violet and dark chocolate with Taransaud barrels contributing sex appeal. Plush and seamless but still youthfully unevolved, with the black raspberry and dark chocolate flavors showing lively mineral lift. Boasts excellent energy." - Stephen Tanzer








2012 PIROUETTE - 19.5/20 POINTS

"Made under the direction of Philippe Melka and Augustin Hunneus, this is a Bordeaux-style blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc. It displays a deep crimson color and a seductive nose of blackberry, cherry, and cassis, with scents of crushed roses, sandalwood, sweet tobacco, sandalwood, violets and wafts of oriental incense. The dark fruit flavors are deep and penetrating, marked by bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans and earthy alluvial minerals. The intensity continues on the back with sensations of pressed concentrated fruits, roasted chestnuts, kirsch liqueur, crème de cassis and toffee, and then marches on into an almost decadent finish that is imbued with integrated oak (75% new for 22 months), spices (nutmeg, clove) and herbs (rosemary sage) all adding up to a wine of superb depth and elegance."

This Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant wine, sourced primarily from Red Mountain for backbone and structure, is blended with Merlot from Weinbau (Wahluke Slope) and Dionysus Vineyards (near Pasco) for richness and a soft mouthfeel. Dionysus Vineyard Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc add vibrancy and added 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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