Napa Valley AVA
"First Lady of Wine" does it again!
All that is necessary to introduce this incredible Platinum Wine Club selection are two words - Heidi Barrett. Make those three words, Heidi Peterson Barrett.
Dubbed by none other than wine guru Robert Parker as the “First lady of wine,” Heidi Barrett’s resume is a veritable Who’s Who of top wineries and entities that have made the term ‘cult wines’ a staple in modern American wine folklore.
Before we go further, the middle name ‘Peterson’ refers to Richard Peterson and his wife Diane, Heidi’s parents. Peterson is the iconic Napa Valley winemaker who must be considered whenever relating to California’s status as a major wine producer. His winemaking techniques are legendary as well as his authoritative writing on anything wine related for industry periodicals. Heidi assisted her famous father from a young age and has held practically every job pertinent to the wine industry.
But Richard Peterson’s greatest gift to the wine world might just be his daughter Heidi, a person who commands a world of respect in her own right. Ever since her Screaming Eagle 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon garnered a 100 Point score, it is safe to say that Heidi Barrett’s career was certainly ‘en fuego.’
A graduate of non other than UC Davis, Barrett worked for Justin Meyer (Franciscan Vineyards and Silver Oak Winery), and Jerry Luper (Bouchaine Vineyards), both celebrated winemakers. In 1988, she became an independent winemaker and added the likes of Dalla Valle Vineyards, Grace Family Vineyards, Vineyard 29, Showket Vineyards, Paradigm Winery, Lamborn Family Vineyards, Fantesca Estate and Winery, Au Sommet, Kenzo Estate and others. A 6-liter bottle of Screaming Eagle set a world record of $500,000 at the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction and was followed the next year by a vertical offering that was hammered down at $650,000.
Heidi Barrett also has a unique insight into winemaking. “I think it is important to have a wide variety of experience to draw from,” she explained. “You can’t just step in and be the winemaker unless you have a lot of experience in the cellar. I wanted to make sure that when I finally had the title of ‘Winemaker,’ I had earned it.”
Her Amuse Bouche (usually hyphenated, amuse-bouche is literally ‘enticement for the mouth.’ Accordingly, amuse-bouches are bite sized appetizers. They are never on the menu but are offered gratis by the chef to favored customers) project began some 15 years ago in conjunction with her long-time friend John Schwartz. Seeing that the cult wine phenomenon had created an almost aspirational class congregation at the collector level, the pair created a limited edition Pomerol-style Merlot (think Château Petrus, King of the Pomerols) blend that would be available to the general public at a much more realistic price point. Additional blends have been added since inception to the Amuse Bouche portfolio.
The success of the original Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend (it varies from vintage to vintage) has been incredible with scores to match.
The 2018 Vin Perdu (“lost wine”) is no exception. It is composed of four Bordeaux varietals (33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Merlot) and one Rhône varietal (38% Syrah) that brings together France’s finest qualities. The label depicts Heidi Barrett lifting off from the vineyards and taking the wine with her - indicating that if you don’t get your hands on the wine now, it will be long gone. The eternal ‘lost wine!’
Nearly thirty years ago, Heidi Peterson married Bo Barrett, himself a world-renowned winemaker (after his father Jim Barrett) at heralded Château Montelena, the storied Napa Valley victor of the famous Steven Spurrier Judgment of Paris Wine Tasting in 1976.
While Château Montelena changed the course of American viticulture, it can be argued that Heidi Barrett and her great wines have raised the stature of California wines to an elevated position among world-class wines. These wines command prices at the same level at France’s Bordeaux first growths and have shown an ability to age that is comparable to many of their Bordeaux counterparts.
When Heidi Barrett and John Schwartz began their Amuse Bouche project, their aim was to blend the winemaking art and painting art in much the same manner as blending a wine.
We sincerely hope that Heidi Barrett and John Schwartz continue their practice of offering classic cult wines to consumers.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
We are thrilled to share with you our 2018 Vin Perdu. Vin Perdu can be translated from French as “lost wine,” but it is also a reference to one of the great French culinary contributions to the world: Pain Perdu (literally, ‘lost bread’ or ‘French Toast’). This wine was recently rated 96+ Points by Robert Parker,The Wine Advocate! It is rich, balanced, and seamless on the palate. The aromatics ooze dark fruits, raw leather, cocoa beans and licorice. Approachable now, or it can be cellared for 20+ years.
Produced by my partner, Heidi Barrett, this Bordeaux varietal blend is compiled from our various vineyards in Napa Valley (Amuse Bouche, La Sirena and Fantesca Estates). The varietal percentages vary from vintage to vintage depending on what Heidi decides to masterfully blend each year. For this vintage, it is a blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon with 12% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 38% Syrah and 6% Merlot. The artwork on our one-of-a-kind lenticular label changes each vintage as well. The 2018 vintage features Heidi, driving her famous helicopter over the vineyards and taking the wine with her! Get it now...or it will be lost forever!
We hope you enjoy this wine as much as we enjoyed making it. And, if you are ever in the Napa Valley area, we would be delighted to host you at one of our properties.
All the best,
Amuse Bouche Winery