Winery: Lumiere Winery
Product/Varietal: 55% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Petit Verdot
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
Winemaker: Andrew Kleiner
How They Describe It
Lumière Means Light in French.
Planted in 1980, the estate vineyard spends each year collecting light to produce some of the finest Bordeaux style wine grapes available in our world-class Temecula Valley.
Light is the source of life and happiness. We use our family-run winery to preserve the light so that we may share it with you. We toast to life and encourage you to “share the light.”
How I Describe It
Color in the Lumiere 2008 Le Cirque is medium-pale garnet. However, the wine’s original red hue is impressively well-preserved for being 12 years old. Significant sedimentation is visible in the bottle.
Mature “tertiary” aromas dominate the nose of this wine — fig, cooked plum, tar, Craisins®, turned earth, and leather. Nevertheless, the 2008 Le Cirque’s age did not dull the more nuanced scents of rose, geranium, unlit cigar, vanilla, as well as hints of orange peel and asparagus.
Stewed cherries, black currant, fig and raspberry lead, while strawberry undertones mingle with black pepper, cigar, nutmeg and vanilla. Rose water, leather, and a scintilla of orange peel carry over through the experience.
The tannins on the Lumiere 2008 Le Cirque are surprisingly grippy and chalky — considering its age — indicating the wine could be aged even longer than it already has! The wine is dry, and at 12.66% ABV the alcohol is low even by Bordeaux standards. Perhaps a lengthy time in porous oak barrels diffused some of the spirit. High tannins mix with medium acid, giving the wine a pleasant medium body. Flavor intensity is pronounced, and the finish is luxuriously long.
Why is This Wine Special?
Most important, and I can’t stress this enough, everything about this wine is special beyond measure.
Small batch wines are hard to find.
Small batch wineries which make twelve year old wines for their regular non-library portfolio are rare.
Small batch wineries which make twelve year old wines for their regular non-library portfolio and price them under $100 is unicorn-level rare.
This, friends, is unicorn-level high-quality bucket list wine. And let me tell you why.
First and foremost, 12 year old wine is hard to find. It just is. That is to say, most wines from the 2008 vintage were drunk long ago. In addition, there simply aren’t many wineries willing to hold on to their product for a dozen years on purpose. Yet, as we’ve seen before, that’s precisely how Lumiere Winery approaches winemaking.
Then, let’s dive into the wine’s quality. The 2008 Le Cirque’s tannin structure likely comes from two areas. First is the wine’s blend — Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are both high-tannin varietals. Second is its time aging in 50% new American oak. Above all, both set the wine up well for long-term aging.
However, whether in barrel or bottle, aging wines takes precise temperature controls, limited light exposure, and quality materials (e.g., barrels, bottles, corks). It’s easy to mess up and spoil a bold, full-bodied wine after that many years, and it’s even easier with more delicate medium-bodied reds. So the fact that the Lumiere 2008 Le Cirque, while showcasing mature aromas and flavors, not only retains its floral and delicate nuances but is far from the end of its aging journey, speaks to winemaker Andrew Kleiner’s skill.
When & How I Would Drink It
This wine would pair perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner. Its flavors would pair well with roasted or fried turkey, and even moreso with the additional accoutrements like stuffing, mashed potatoes, or green bean casserole (at least that’s what is normally on my Thanksgiving dinner table).
The nice thing about the 2008 Le Cirque is it’s delicate enough for lighter proteins like barbecued chicken or pork, but bold enough for bigger flavors like short ribs, stews, and pizza.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t bother pairing the Lumiere 2008 Le Cirque with food. It’s such a special wine, and deserves to monopolize your senses for a time.
However you choose to enjoy the 2008 Le Cirque, I wouldn’t let the wine breathe any more than 30 minutes. Mature wines simply don’t need to oxygenate like their younger siblings. In fact, older wines can spoil faster, so leaving it out for too long could actually diminish the taste.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $52
Cases Produced: 110 cases
Have you tried the Lumiere 2008 Le Cirque? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.