“The Christening.” Review: Decades 5 2012

If you read the blog post before this one (and if you didn’t, then you should), then you know what an arduous ordeal it was, first building and later putting up the massive wine rack in my cellar. It took my mother, father, and I a week to build, and a team of men to fit it into place. At the conclusion, I needed something that was both worthy of toasting my mighty new wine shelf, and rewarding those who helped me put it up.

Decades 5 is evidence of the dexterity of winemaker Jean Hoefliger, who is perhaps better known for Cabernet.  He earned the nickname “The Swiss Machine” for producing 100-point Cabs like its an easy thing to do (and, of course, for being from Switzerland). Jean is a friend of mine, and I love his wines. Though I hadn’t had this one yet, I was excited to see what Jean had done with this varietal. I knew it would be great.

Decades 5 is a refreshing approach to Petit Verdot. Sourced from the Stagecoach Vineyard and, more specifically, hand-picked from warmer blocks of it to allow a longer growing season, Decades 5 is an unfined, unfiltered PV that is beautifully structured and nicely in balance. Incredibly smooth and undeniably robust, it opened up over time, evolving from a deep and brooding black fruit monster to a more elegant if still enormous deep purple beauty with subtle layers that give it depth. A wine that will age for, well, decades (see what I did there? sheesh), this might well be the best damn Petit Verdot I’ve ever had. If you love Petit Verdot, or Cabernet, or, frankly, good wine, then I’m confident you’ll like this one.

Before we partook, we lugged two massive oak barrels into the corner and laid an ancient door with a mirror on one side across them to make a table. Meticulously, we maneuvered each barrel on the uneven floor of my cellar, inserting shims until at last they were perfectly level. The day’s work done, we pulled the cork on this bottle of Decades 5 Petit Verdot, poured tall glasses, and enjoyed one of the best wines I’ve had in a very long time. This is a wine truly worthy of christening my new shelf, and of rewarding my loyal friends for breaking their backs helping me to build a wine cellar.




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