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Reply to "TN: 2003 Le Cadeau Pinot Noir"

Vino Me, Otis, and Mrs. VM and Mrs. Otis,

First, from me and Mrs. BHV I'd like to extend many many thanks to all of you for the delightful dinner gathering and the CDP party! Everything was wonderful! It was great fun to meet so many folks that have been a part of this forum for so long. And everyone's generousity and hospitality was truly extraordinary. Thanks!!!

I apologize for the slow response (and thanks), I've been up in Northern Michigan on vacation for a few days, and not online much.

VM (and others),

Thanks for the kind comments regarding the 2002 Le Cadeau and your thoughts regarding the 2003. I may have confused you and others a bit with the current and forward plans for Le Cadeau; allow me to clarify:

The 2002 Le Cadeau is actually the first vintage of Le Cadeau, and 2003 is the second. In 2001 (our first harvest from 3-year old vines) we had about 1.5-tons of fruit that was blended into the DePonte Cellars 2001. So as far as Le Cadeau goes, I start the clock with the 2002... but it would be accurate to say that the 2002 vintage is the second harvest for the vineyard.

Both the 2002 and 2003 were made by the same winemaker-- Isabelle Dutarte. She is the resident winemaker at DePonte, and a very talented lady. So no need consider the winemaker as a variable between the 2002 and 2003.

In 2004 (and also for 2005), we will have three consulting winemakers, and each will have a Le Cadeau "winemaker-designated" cuvee. All three cuvees are made 100% from Le Cadeau estate fruit, but the consulting winemakers work with different sections of the vineyard which have diverse clones and soil characteristics. Thus, we will have three wines of common heritage -- the vineyard -- but each has meaningfully different flavors and characteristics.

The 2004 Le Cadeau "Bergstrom Cuvee" was bottled a week ago; the Le Cadeau "Chehalem Cuvee" will be bottled next week, and the "Cheryl Francis-Sam Tannahill Cuvee" will not be bottled until later in the year. The wines will likely be released a year from now.

Regarding the 2003, this is indeed a "riper" more fruit forward Le Cadeau (versus the 2002), and the difference is almost exclusively vintage driven. I have been told by a well-known restaurant owner in Oregon that he considers the two wines to be excellent and "true" examples of the two vintages. The alcohol in the 2003 is 14.6% compared to 14.1% in the 2002.

Please note that the 2003 is not "officially released" at this time because I do not believe it is "ready". I'm anticipating that the wine will formally release around the 1st of the year and will be closer to "ready" in 9 to 12 months. BUT, I've poured the wine for a few close friends, and some have preferred its richness to the "apparently more-structured" 2002. (I use that term because I believe that the 2003 has comparable structure to the 2002 but it is currently masked by the considerable up-front fruit. This becomes apparent if it is tasted 4 - 6 hours after the bottle is opened and / or decanted). For those that have been passionate and / or curious about the 2003, I've let a few cases out the door.

I concur with VinoMe's current preference for the 2002, but I can honestly say this: The 2003 tastes better now than the 2002 did a year ago. I have high hopes for the 2003, but only time will tell if it surpasses the 2002.

Regarding our website, it is a temporary solution to a blank page; the "final" version is still a few months off:

Again, thanks to all for your support; it is greatly appreciated and very gratifying. AND at the risk of being overly redundant, those that have some of the 2003, or are considering purchasing it, please either hold it for 6-months, or give it 4 - 6 hours of airtime before serving.