Napa Winery Penché Releases Second Vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Argent, Bordeaux-style Red

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Cultivating Quality and Complexity in the Vineyard Yields Balanced, Elegant Expressions of Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District

“Our goal with Penché is to make wines that showcase the bright fruit aromas and flavors we get in Napa, while maintaining the perfect balance and elegance I love in Bordeaux blends."

Penché Wine, a micro producer of ultra-premium Napa Valley Cabernet-based wines has released its second vintage to the market. The Penché 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($60/bottle, 354 cases made), and Penché 2006 Argent Proprietary Red ($40 bottle, 254 cases made) are now available at and at a handful of restaurant and fine-wine retail accounts in California.

Penché Wine is owned by Scott and Pauline Asbill, long-time wine collectors who turned their passionate hobby into a labor of love with the help of consulting winemaker Jay Buoncristiani.

“When we purchased the vineyard, it wasn’t our dream to make our own wine, but it seemed like we were realizing a dream by being there,” said Pauline. “After selling our grapes to other wineries for a few years, we decided to go out on a limb and start Penché, and it’s been a wonderful adventure.”

Applying a philosophy that quality and complexity begin in the vineyard, Scott Asbill takes a hands-on approach to his viticulture, personally managing the activity. “Our goal with Penché is to make wines that showcase the bright fruit aromas and flavors we get in Napa, while maintaining the perfect balance and elegance I love in Bordeaux blends. Jay has helped us focus on growing the qualities we’re looking for in the vineyard,” Scott said.

“I’m an orthodontist by trade, and I believe that precision is important. It is a guiding principle in the way we prune the vines, train the shoots, thin the canopy, manage irrigation, determine whether to drop fruit, and decide when to harvest. We’re literally cultivating quality and complexity,” he continued.

“The 2006 growing season was challenging, with a wet spring, hot July, and then cool temperatures that lasted into the fall. But it all worked out in the end because we waited. The grapes got a little extra hang time, which gave us the mature tannins and concentrated flavors we wanted,” Jay said.

During the winemaking process, a keen attention to detail was continued as Jay kept all of the individual lots separate to protect subtle differences. Sorting before and after the grapes were gently de-stemmed ensured that only uniformly ripe fruit made it into the fermenters. The juice macerated on the skins for approximately five weeks, and regular pump-overs and punch-downs of the caps (skins, pulp and seeds that float to the top) encouraged extraction of the bright red and black fruit flavors and elegant tannins.

After fermentation was complete, the wines were drained and gently pressed from the skins, and aged for a year in mostly new, small French oak barrels. At that point, Jay, Scott and Pauline collaborated to craft each wine’s initial blend. “After we made the trial blends, I put them back in barrel for another six to nine months to allow the flavors and aromas to fold together,” explained Jay. Before bottling, the blends were finalized.

“We blended small amounts of other Bordeaux varietals into the Cabernet to enhance what the vineyard gave us without overshadowing its natural expression,” Scott explained. “For the Argent, we were going for a style of wine that is approachable earlier, so we blended more of the other varietals. But ultimately, our Cabernet fruit is at its core and it expresses our vineyard.”

More about Penché Wine:
Penché is a micro wine brand created by Scott & Pauline Asbill in 2005 to make elegant and balanced Bordeaux-style wines that showcase their four-acre Napa Valley Oak Knoll District vineyard. The Asbills chose the name “Penché,” (pronounced pahn-shey, a French word that means leaning, bending, or tilting) for their wines in honor of a centuries-old leaning oak tree that shades their porch at the vineyard. Believing that a wine’s complexity and quality begin in the vineyard, the Asbills planted three different Cabernet clones, and they manage their viticulture personally. Each vintage, in collaboration with consulting winemaker Jay Buoncristiani, they craft a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and a proprietary red named Argent. For more information or to purchase Penché wines, please visit

Allison Lane Simpson
Leap Forward Communications
(707) 963-3304


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