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Friday Fishwrap: Random Jottings at Week's End
CLOS PEGASE: At The Confluence of Art and Wine

By Charles Olken

For forty years, the shining beacon on the hill in the north end of the Napa Valley has been Sterling’s Moorish temple of vinosity. But those beckoned by the light will find themselves running smack into an even more modern example of brilliant architecture that sits directly across Dunaweal Lane from the Sterling driveway. If you did not know it was there, Clos Pegase, with its the handsome post-modern building would sneak up on you and draw you in. The architecture is spectacular—for those who like that sort of thing. I do. And the sculpture that sits on all sides of the winery and even in the vineyard is of a quality that would make most museums green with envy.

The tasting room is not unusual. It offers the usual assortment of wines in several different options, but the scenery is so gorgeous both inside and out that concentrating on the wines is not always easy. And the caves built into the adjoining hillside are among the most interesting anywhere. In a valley that has caves and more caves from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar at the south end of the valley to Beringer’s century old caves dug by coolies to Schramsberg’s mix of modern and old caves, this is a valley that has caves. It is also a valley with very good wineries by the score. Choosing which ones to visit confronts the traveler with an embarrassment of riches, and, ultimately, I choose to take my visitors to wineries where the wine is good and the visual setting is aesthetically pleasing.

The images below do a better job than I at describing both the tasting room and the many pieces of eye candy that bring me back time and time again to Clos Pegase. And, if you time your visit right, you will be able to enjoy winery owner Jan Shrem’s presentation of Bacchus The Rascal, a humorous look back at the history of wine. I have seen it several times and it is one of the most enjoyable vinous diversions in all of wine country.

Clos Pegase
1060 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, California 94515


I like Sauvignon Blanc, and it is a variety that Connoisseurs’ Guide covers several times a year because of the grape’s great versatility and priceworthiness. It is not a grape, however, that knocks down spectacular ratings and when a great Sauvigon Blanc, a wine of surpassing beauty comes along, it stands head and shoulders above its varietal peers. Such a wine is our Wine of The Day.

92 CLOS PEGASE Mitsuko's Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Carneros Napa Valley 2008 $21.00 GOOD VALUE
As deep and well-fruited as Sauvignon Blanc is likely to get, this rich and outgoing rendition from Clos Pegase leads with classic varietal aromas of melons, sweet limes and leafy greens and follows with rich, mouthfilling flavors that are enriched by wonderfully proportioned oak. It is fairly full-bodied and slightly fleshy in feel, and, for all of its richness and size, it is beautifully balanced, remarkably vital and very light on its feet.

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