CARTE BLANCHE is a relatively new winery project in Napa Valley that is raising the eyebrows of wine enthusiasts who enjoy high quality, world class wines.
To say that proprietor Nick Allen and his family have a history of producing monumental wines would be an understatement. Allen is the great-grandson of Clarence Dillon who purchased Chateau Haut-Brion in 1935 (now owned by the family company, “Domaine Clarence Dillon”). As you may know, Haut-Brion is one of the original five Grand Crus of Bordeaux.
To make the wines under his newly formed CARTE BLANCHE Estate in Napa Valley, Allen spared no expense in luring one of America’s top winemakers, Luc Morlet.
Some of Morlet’s Milestone Achievements:
- Creating Newton’s Unfiltered Chardonnay (96 points from Robert Parker)
- Winemaker for Peter Michael (98 points from Robert Parker for his ’02 “Les Pavots” Cabernet blend
- 99 points for his ’01 Peter Michael “Point Rouge” Chardonnay)
- 97 points for his ’05 Peter Michael “Les Pavots” in Wine Spectator
- Also winemaker for Staglin and his own highly acclaimed Morlet Family Vineyards
Suffice to say that Luc Morlet has an illustrious track record of making award-wining, highly-rated, world class wines. CARTE BLANCHE is destined to follow suit.
The wines are made with some of the best grapes money can buy. Vineyard sources include Beckstoffer’s “ToKolan Vineyard” in Oakville, Newton’s “Hillside Vineyard” on Spring Mountain, and Beckstoffer’s historic “Missouri Hopper Vineyard” in southern Oakville.
“Carte Blanche is a partnership between proprietor Nicholas Allen and winemaker Luc Morlet. Although a new project started only in 2008, all of the wines I have tasted so far have been impressive. The 2010s are no exception.” —Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate
From top to bottom, no expense has been spared to ensure these wines live up to Nick’s uncompromising standards in becoming hallmark wines of the highest quality.
– The Wines –
2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
This is a rich, opulent, beautifully balanced wine! Brilliant golden in color, an alluring bouquet, super creamy and plush on the mid-palate with a finish that lingers forever. Notes of peach, lemon meringue, nectarine, creme brûlée, hazelnut, and minerals all in perfect balance. A remarkable Chardonnay! Only 200 cases produced. ($75)
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
“Another powerful, young wine, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is incredibly dense and virtually impenetrable. Blue and black fruit, grilled herbs, licorice, new leather, menthol and tobacco flow through to an incisive finish layered with graphite and crushed rocks. Today, the 2010 is cool and implosive, suggesting it needs at least another few years to come together. The addition of 10% Petit Verdot seems to give the wine some of its brooding personality. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028.”
—Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate,
Issue 204 Dec 2012 – Rating: 94
400 cases produced ($125)
2010 Sandstone Seven
Alder Springs Vineyard, Mendocino
A brilliant Rhone-style white wine blend. Aromas of bright white flowers jump from the glass, surrounded by notes of lemon zest, wet stones, mineral, slate and sea shells. The palate entry is silky and rich with fine acidic structure. Subtle spices speak of Bosc pear galette with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of cardamom. Crushed granite and the faintest flash of petrol barely whisper in the long, clean finish.
From Stu Bewley’s immaculate, impressive, and meticulously farmed Alder Springs Vineyard in Northern Mendocino County, this amazing blend of 40% Viognier, 40% Marsanne and 20% Rousanne is reminiscent of the great white wines of the Southern Rhone. Alder Springs Vineyards lies seven miles from the Pacific coast, sitting on well-drained, ancient sandstone slopes at elevations ranging from 1700′ to 2700′. Truly expressive of the terrior, the small intensely flavored berries create a beautiful, complex and unique wine. 125 cases produced. ($50)