Last night 2 dozen wine aficionados were invited to an exclusive tasting of Quintessa hosted by both Gary Fisch. from Gary’s Marketplace and George Staikos from Quintessa (Eastern Regional Sales Manager). The tasting focused on 3 block selections of the ’04 Quintessa property, as well as the finished product from ’01, and ’02.
The first wine was the Dragon’s Terraces block ’04 – This wine was light in color, but big in flavor. Lush red fruit, medium tannins, with a very smooth long finish. Some cherry notes present. A wonderfully balanced wine. One of the backbone wines in the final blend.
The second was the Cruz Del Sur block ’04 – This one was a bit darker with much bigger fruit up front. Dark fruit with some notes of cassis, & clove. Tannins more evident. I love the 30 second finish. A very integrated wine on its own. Now, since biodynamic measures it's becoming more important in the final blend. My favorite of the blocks.
The third and final block was the Corona Sur ’04 – This was a totally different styled wine altogether, as promised on the nose. The darkest of the three both on sight and on fruit style. I found a slight bitterness in the middle palate and a super slight vegetalness. An interesting wine non-the less.
The fourth wine was the Quintessa 2001 – This wine was the last make by Philippe Melka. This wine is Cabernet with some Merlot. 18 months in oak, 100% French, 60% new. I liked this wines approachability. The same reason some did not like it. Moderate tannins. I did notice some of the famed Rutherford dust. A smooth beautiful long mouth feel. Medium dark fruit. Some browning on the edges. After some time in the glass some port notes evident on the nose. Some believed this wine was tiring too soon. 88/100
The final wine of the night was the Quintessa 2002 – This wine was made by Sara Gott. Totally different than the ’01. The ’02 was a bigger fruit more tannic styled wine. !00% new French oak and 20 months in it. The blend here is 78 Cabernet, 18% Merlot and 4% Cab Franc. The Cab Franc was evident from the get go. Currants and dark cherries, with beautiful integrated levels of acid and tannins. I felt this wine has stuffing to go many years. Not as approachable as the’ 01. The dark color gave promise to the long persistent aftertaste. I would cellar this 2-4 years. 92/100
I think Quintessa is a great wine with much potential to be a very great wine once consistency issues are worked out, and crazy price strategies are corrected. They now have a new winemaker, Aaron Pott, and going forward I believe they should build a flavor profile that fans could rely on. Unfortunately prices are way up there and it’s getting hard to justify $120+ per bottle. Much of Quintessa’s fan base has abandoned her. Too bad.(Just my opinion and we all know what opinions are worth).
Quintessa now has a second wine which is made from blocks not quite up to Quintessa standards called Faust. I will seek out a bottle to try. Gary Fisch tells me it’s on the style of the Corona Sur. It’s priced at about $53.