Heidi Barrett - Vin Perdu
For the past 25 years, Heidi Barrett has been the undisputed Queen of Napa. Her resume reads like a Napa Valley Wine Hall of Fame; she's made many of the best vintages of Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, and Grace Family, just to name a few. These wines have elevated Napa's elite wines to a level once only reserved for the First Growths of Bordeaux. The ‘Cult Cab' revolution will be forever tied to Heidi and her ultra-rare wines from the early 1990's. Regardless of her fame, it's great to see Heidi remains humbled by the opportunity to work with Napa's greatest vineyards as she continues to make many of the Valley's finest wines.
Starting with the bountiful 2005 vintage, Heidi Barrett has teamed up with John Schwartz on one of Napa's most ambitious projects – Vin Perdu. Heidi and John are a dynamic duo; they work together on Amuse Bouche, a Pomerol-inspired Merlot, as well as La Sirena, Heidi's very own winery. Vin Perdu is a project like no other; a special wine even by Heidi's exacting standards. Every year the wine is blended in a style that Heidi feels best represents the vintage. The goal is to make a Cabernet-based wine but also use a high percentage of Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot from Amuse Bouche as well as Syrah from La Sirena. The wine is ultimately bottled in 5 liter Jerobaums and personally signed by Heidi. When you consider the quality of fruit, the brilliant winemaking, and the ultra-rare large bottle format, Vin Perdu is the ultimate wine experience.
Both of these wines are outstanding. The 2005 is a dark, lush wine driven by blackberry and currant flavors and hints of peppery spice. The creamy mouthfeel sets up for an elegant finish with notes of black cherry and cassis. The 2006 shows more brawn but it still retains an elegant mouthfeel and layers of concentrated, intense fruit. The body exudes flavors of dark chocolate and licorice with nuances of leather and coffee. The broad tannin softens up with air and turns to absolute velvet.
There is no reason to rush these wines. While they are both gorgeous today, they will continue to evolve for the 20 years, in part because of their large-format bottling. Whenever you choose to experience them, they will provide you with an opportunity to experience one of Napa's finest wines from one of its greatest winemakers.