July Tasting Panel Newsletter

When Lightning Strikes

By: Anthony Dias Blue
When Lightning Strikes
Coup de Foudre Wines Make a Lasting Impression

by Anthony Dias Blue

Longtime Wente executive and restaurant developer John Schwartz made a splash in the cult wine world a few years ago with the debut of a high-end Napa Valley Merlot called Amuse-Bouche. It was made by star consultant Heidi Barrett and came packaged with an original print from French artist Guy Buffet, who is also apartner in the project.

Now Schwartz has partnered with another well-known and highly respected "woman in wine"—Danielle Price, Director of Wine at Wynn Resorts—to create yet another powerhouse Napa Valley label, Coup de Foudre.

The name—a versatile French expression meaning both "lightning strike" and "love at first sight"—is an apt name for wines that make an immediate, and lasting, impression. I recently tasted all three current releases.

  The Coup de Foudre 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($95) is s ilky and smooth with toasty, ripe plum and black-raspberry fruit; juicy, succulent and deep with lovely hints of spice and sweet oak, it's a big wine that is never clumsy. The finish is elegant, long and seamless. I gave it 95 points.

The Coup de Foudre 2008 37.2 Cuvée, Napa Valley ($75) is a rich and spicy Pomerol-inspired blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with lovely plum, cassis and herbs; ripe, lush and concentrated, it's got dynamic balance, good length and lovely elegance. 92 points.

The frgrant and lush Coup de Foudre Pinot Noir ($95) is sourced from  the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County. Sweet black-cherry fruit plays around a core of tangy acidity; complex with notes of earth, spice and lively fruit, its silky texture segues into a long, balanced finish. 93 points.

The unique, patented peel-off labels, which feature a poem Schwartz once wrote to his wife, can be used as memo pads to write down the "who, what, where" of your own particular coup de foudre.

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