(From 1999 Vintage) Ripe and concentrated with plenty of color and spicy, red fruit aromas, this wine is distinguished by its core of berry flavors and harmonious balance. This vintage, while showy and drinkable now, will provide enjoyment for years to come.
Appellation AmericaJoseph Phelps founded his eponymous winery in the Napa Valley in 1972 and, not surprisingly, the winery is best known for Napa wines like the Bordeaux-style blend called Insignia. But Phelps, a fan of wines from France’s Rhone Valley, was also a pioneer in California Syrah, producing his first one in 1974 using grapes purchased from the Christian Brothers. He planted some of his own in the Napa Valley and, in the mid-1990s, he also planted Syrah and Grenache on two vineyard parcels on a bench south of King City in Monterey County. Le Mistral, which sells for $40, is modeled loosely on the red blends read more...of the southern Rhone, although this wine is heavier on the Syrah, which accounts for 59 percent of the blend. The remainder of the blend is 23 percent Grenache, 8 percent Carignane, 5 percent Petite Sirah and 5 percent Alicante Bouschet. I’ve sometimes found Le Mistral to be too overtly oaky, but the 2005 is very well balanced, with ripe yet lively black raspberry and strawberry flavors, notes of mocha and spice, and firm but approachable tannins. The wine spent 13 months in a combination of new (42 percent) and two-year-old French oak barrels. The Phelps web site, has recipes for some suggested food pairings with Le Mistral: black bean chili, Mediterranean pizza and pork chops in red wine with brown rice and pecans. (hide)
Wine AdvocateRating: (89-91) - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 168 on Dec-06
Wine SpectatorRating: 90/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator.