Philip Togni remains one of the most steadfast names of Napa Valley for good reason. Year after year the small Spring Mountain estate produces spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blends that combine alluring depth and concentration with the acid and mountain tannins built for age. Few debate the incredible pedigree of these wines going back for decades, yet the prices have never reached the levels of many small “cult” producers.
Long before fame and fortune came to Napa Valley, Togni was helping craft some of the greatest wines Napa Valley has ever produced with the likes of Mayacamas, Inglenook, and Chappellet. Antonio Galloni once wrote “The Cabernet Sauvignon Togni made at Chappellet in 1969 remains one of the greatest and most singular wines I have ever had the pleasure to taste and drink, from any region in the world” a bold statement that anyone who has had the chance to try a bottle would likely agree to. Togni later carried his extensive experience to his own small winery with great success.
Togni planted his 10.5-acre vineyard high on the East facing slopes of Spring Mountain in 1981, opting for almost entirely Cabernet Sauvignon, with a small fraction of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. East facing slopes mean that the grapevines capture the early morning sunlight while temperatures are still relatively low, preserving acidity while encouraging ripening. The high elevation also means the vineyard sits high above the fog line that buffers the heat of lower areas, meaning the Togni vineyard receives ample sun without drastically high temperatures. The unfortunate choice of AxR#1 rootstock meant that the early plantings had to be replanted, yet the extension of this process over the course of the 1990’s meant that production never suffered drastically.
Philip Togni’s daughter Lisa now makes the wine with help from her mother and father. There is little doubt that Lisa Togni shares much of the skill and dedication that has come to define the Togni label. Aged Togni wines are absolutely beautiful to behold, while modern examples show the kind of concentration and refinement that speaks of greater things to come.