Jack Of Two Grapes, Master Of Both

By Robert Parker

British-born Philip Togni learned winemaking in Bordeaux, and plied his craft there and in Napa Valley before planting his own Napa vineyard in 1980. He produces only two wines: a cabernet sauvignon that can last as long as a great Bordeaux; and Ca' Togni, a sweet red made from the black muscat grape. Like many top California wineries, much is sold via mailing list. (Call 707 963-3731 or fax 707 963-9186.) Internet search engines can also help you locate merchants with Togni wines.

2000 Ca' Togni

94 points.

Even with 14.7% alcohol and over 20% residual sugar, this dessert wine is not the least bit cloying. An extraordinary perfume of flowers, raisins, plums, figs, incense, and Asian spice soars from the glass, followed by a sweet, gloriously pure wine that is relatively light on its feet. It offers a decadent glass of wine that is best enjoyed at the conclusion of a meal. Drink in the next four to five years. $50 for 375 ml

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

91 points.

A top effort for the vintage, this wine exhibits a saturated ruby/purple color and a sweet perfume of cassis intermixed with hints of cedar, spice box, dried herbs, new saddle leather, and subtle oak. It is medium- to full-bodied, with wonderful up-front sweetness. It does not possess the weight and length of many Togni wines, but it is surprisingly rich, powerful, and concentrated. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2018. $80

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

94-96 points.

Tasted from the barrel, this is a great vintage for Togni. Inky/blue/purple-colored with a glorious perfume of crème de cassis, licorice, graphite, and a hint of black olives, it is full-bodied and rich with silky tannins. Those tannins give it more accessibility than most young Togni cabs. $85

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

95 points.

An inky/purple color is accompanied by classic aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, black currants, blackberries, dried herbs, smoke, barbecue spice, licorice, and tapenade in this full-bodied, pure, concentrated 2003. It requires another seven to eight years of cellaring, and should last for three decades or more. $85

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

96 points.

Inky/black, and the nose offers up spectacular aromas of melted licorice intermixed with crème de cassis, acacia flowers, roasted meats, tapenade, and subtle pain grillé. Opulent and voluptuous, with huge body brilliantly balanced by sweet tannin and adequate acidity, this cabernet possesses impeccable equilibrium, admirable purity, and a 50-second finish. It is one of Togni's great cabs, of which there have been many over the last quarter of a century. While masochists might enjoy it young, I would opt for cellaring it four to five years, and drink it over the following two decades. It is a brilliant achievement! $140

1995 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

96 points.

A classic that turns to Bordeaux for elegance, structure, and complexity, yet retains Napa's extraordinarily sweet, rich, concentrated fruit. This profound 1995 still tastes like an adolescent. It will benefit from another four to five years of bottle age, and should last easily for another 20 to 25 years. $150

Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.

Visit www.eRobertParker.com for the Internet's most active wine bulletin board, tens of thousands of tasting notes, or to order his recent book, The World's Greatest Wine Estates: A Modern Perspective. You can also subscribe to Parker's newsletter, The Wine Advocate. Request a sample copy at: The Wine Advocate, P.O. Box 311, Monkton, MD 21111

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