June-July 2014

A Ten Year Retrospective of EPISODE
By: Tim Gaiser, MS

A gathering earlier this year at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley celebrated the 80th birthday of American wine industry icon Tony Terlato. It also provided an opportunity to taste a vertical of ten vintages of one of the flagships of the Terlato portfolio, EPISODE.

EPISODE is a Cabernet blend drawn from top Napa Valley vineyard sources. The tasting didn't disappoint, and I found the wines to be elegant, impeccably balanced and age-worthy regardless of vintage. Fellow MS Bob Bath, Director of the Advanced Beverage Program at the Rudd Center, agreed saying, "The consistency of the EPISODE wines in this vertical tasting was a testament to their fine winemaking and ageability. The wines consistently showed a balance of fruit, oak and ripeness, along with classic Cabernet Sauvignon tannic structure." 

For the full story, see the June-July digital edition of The SOMM Journal.

The tasting notes below are from Tim Gaiser, MS



78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot Dried currant, damson plum and blackberry; potpourri, anise, leather, and wood spice. Elegant, seamless and long; at its peak but easily another decade.


74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 2% Malbec Dried roses, sandalwood and cedar notes compliment red fruits. The palate is bright and vibrant with a touch of earthiness; well balanced with a long finish. Drink now and over the next 8–12 years.


57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot Dark and dried red fruits are prominent with earthy/woodsy notes. Rounded palate with vibrant fruit and spicy wood on the finish. Nearing its peak but a long life ahead.

Above: Tony Terlato at the tasting.
Right: EPISODE winemaker
Marisa Taylor.


65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc Smoky/ woodsy impression with dried blackberry and dark plum. A combination of tart and sweet fruit on the palate with chocolate and savory notes on the finish. Now and over the next 15 years.


68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot Dried dark plum and blackberry fruit with cedar, dried floral, leather, tea/leaves and smoke. The palate is supple, fullish and elegant. 12+ years.


65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot Compote of dark berries with smoke, leather, cedar, and earth. More wood spice on the palate. Now and over the next 15 years.


65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc Spicy plum and dark cherry with bitter chocolate, violet/rose, mint and herb. Ripe, rich and supple with fine tannins; outstanding winemaking. 12+ years.


67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot Black and red currant, cedar, leather, savory herb and cocoa. Seamless, balanced, and complete—one of best wines from 2008 I’ve tasted. My favorite wine of the flight—so much for “off” vintages. 12–15 years.

Tony Terlato speaks to the group.


60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot Spicy blackcurrant and dark plum with mocha, violet, cedar and smoke. Supple, and refined. 15+ years.


44% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot Ripe blackcurrant and dark cher

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