One of the famed Napa winemakers, Heidi Barrett grew up in the Napa Valley in a winemaking family and was truly destined to become one of California's leading winemakers. Heidi worked in the vineyards in high school and continued her winemaking education at UC Davis. After graduation she worked for Justin Meyer at Franciscan Vineyards and Silver Oak, also working for Lindeman's Wines in Australia and Rutherford Hill. Shortly after she assistant winemaker at Bouchaine Vineyards. Then in 1983, at age 25 became winemaker at Buehler Vineyards. It was here that she first attracted critical acclaim by greatly improving the wine quality and taking the production from 6,000 cases to 20,000 cases. She was eventually hired by Gustav Dalla Valle and was winemaker at Dalla Valle Vineyards until spring 1996 gaining an international reputation for creating their"Maya" cult wine. Heidi then made wine for Screaming Eagle in 1992, which has also received two perfect 100 pt scores (the '92 and recent '97). In addition to her very own wines from La Sirena, she is currently the winemaker for Amuse Bouche as well as, Paradigm, Lamborn, Kenzo Estate, Au Sommet, Vin Perdu, and Fantesca. Amuse Bouche is a partnership between Heidi and John Schwartz which is a Pomerol-inspired Merlot from the Napa Valley. I recently had the chance to review several of her wines, including her amazing new 2015 Amuse Bouche Red Wine (WWB, 95) which has amazing elegance and is truly Napa Merlot at its best. This scintillating bottling will have an exceedingly long life in the cellar. Here are my reviews of the Amuse Bouche as well as the great new wines made by Heidi Barrett.
2016 Vin Perdu Red Wine- The ‘Vin Perdu’ is comprised of essentially the grapes that didn’t make it into Amuse Bouche by Heidi Barrett. The wine is a blend of Bordeaux varietals that opens up with mocha, tar, anise and creme de cassis that all build in the glass. The palate is showing really good mid-palate weight, delivering copious dark fruit and chocolate fudge flavors. Downright delicious in its youth, this will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2032- 93
2015 Amuse Bouche Red Wine- The 2015 Amuse Bouche is largely Merlot (88%) that was sourced from the Napa Valley. Heidi Barrett owns a secret vineyard in the eastern Rutherford Hills which this wine is sourced from. The nose is intoxicating with bright red fruits that mingle with cedar, creme de cassis, dusty terroir and shades of mocha that all build in the glass. The texture is downright ethereal as this silky wine glides across the mid-palate. Dense tar, anise, creme de cassis and blueberry compote flavors with shades of damp terroir all collide on the palate. The exceedingly long finish lingers long on the tongue. Sensational now, this gorgeous expression of Napa Merlot will provide drinking enjoyment for the next two decades. Drink 2020-2040- 95