|2007 Amuse Bouche, St. Helena, Merlot
"The challenge of producing a Napa
Valley Merlot in the style of the great
Pomerol wines such as Petrus and Le
Pin inspired Heidi Barrett to create
Amuse Bouche wine."
Robert Parker has dubbed Heidi
Barrett "the first lady of wine."
The 2007 harvest was characterized by its split personality. After a
moderate summer, a burst of heat in early September led a number of
wineries to pick earlier than usual. However, the harvest stalled due to a
the month, our vineyards clearly had benefited from the extended hang
time. The later harvest allowed an optimal ripening period for our Merlot
and Cabernet Franc blocks, which we picked just before heavy rainfall
struck the Napa Valley in early October.
Twelve months later, our esteemed winemaker, Heidi Barrett, describes
the '07 (93% Merlot/7% Cabernet Franc) as "almost purple black in
color with aromas of crushed blackberries and ripe plum, mineral, wild
mushrooms, vanilla and coffee bean. The tannins are muscular but
balanced, with consistent velvety textures, and seductively layered to
mature 10-15 years down the road." The Amuse Bouche 2007 was
bottled in April 2009 after resting in a combination of Tarransaud,
Gamba and Radoux cooperage.
The Amuse Bouche 2007 original art was created by legendary artist
LeRoy Neiman and is entitled, "The Last Dance." Born in 1921, Neiman
has become an American icon for 20th century modern art. He is an
artist who responds to his time and has always felt that being a part of
every generation was paramount to the success of his work. The "Last
Dance," commissioned by Amuse Bouche Winery, depicts two roof top
diners enjoying the moment while their champagne flutes rest table side.
This oil on board, Neiman explains, "uses colors to emphasize the scent,
spirit and feeling of the scene I have experienced."
Heidi Barrett grew up in the Napa Valley in a winemaking family and was destined
to become one of California's leading winemakers. It is said that winemaking is a
combination of science and art. With a scientist-winemaker father and an artist
mother it is no big surprise that Heidi was drawn to the wine industry. With great
enthusiasm, a love for what she does, and an incredible wealth of experience,
Heidi blends the art and science of winemaking like few can.
After graduating from UC Davis in 1980 with a B.S. Degree in Fermentation
Science, she went to work for Justin Meyer at Franciscan Vineyards and Silver Oak.
After subsequent crush jobs at both Lindeman's Wines in Australia and Rutherford
Hill, Heidi Barrett became assistant winemaker to Jerry Luper at Bouchaine
Vineyards. Then in 1983, at age 25 became winemaker at Buehler Vineyards. It was
here that she first attracted critical acclaim by greatly improving the wine quality and
taking the production from 6,000 cases to 20,000 cases. This wide range of
experience has given Heidi a unique insight into winemaking.
In 1988, she left Buehler to become an independent winemaker (freelance),
making wine for a number of small wineries. Within a week she was hired by
Gustav Dalla Valle and was winemaker at Dalla Valle Vineyards until spring 1996. It
was there that she took her abilities to the next level creating some powerful yet
elegant Cabernets, including the famous "Maya" cult wine, a proprietary Cabernet
blend that received two perfect 100 point scores from Robert Parker ( the '92 and
'93) as well as record breaking bids at the Napa Valley Wine Auction. She started
making wine for Screaming Eagle in 1992, which has also received two perfect 100
pt scores (the '92 and recent '97). A 6-liter bottle of '92 SE set a world record for the
highest price ever paid for a single bottle of wine at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine
Auction selling for $500,000. A vertical offering of this cult wine went for $650,000 at
the 2001 NVWA.
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