Discover Perrarus: A Rare Wine That Evokes an Ancient Treasure

One of Napa Valley’s most exclusive vintages, presented in a highly collectible vessel, launches this month

Words by GEMMA ZOE PRICE

 

Taking cues from the luxury market, vintner Lawrence D. Fairchild expects his new limited-edition, highly exclusive Napa Valley cabernet Perrarus — which he bills as “the Ferrari or Patek Philippe of wines” — to tick every box for high-end collectors.

 

Crafted with premium fruit from some of the region’s most revered vineyards, production of the inaugural 2015 vintage is limited to 250 hand-blown magnum bottles. Would-be buyers must be a member of Fairchild Wines and pre-register beginning Aug. 15 to participate in the online lottery, to be held Sept. 23. The lucky few selected at random by computer may purchase only a single bottle, priced at an eye-watering $3,500.

“If offered on a first come, first served basis, Perrarus would sell out in one minute,” says Fairchild, whose portfolio includes critically acclaimed G-III, Sigaro, and Stones 1, 2 and 3 wines. “We have opted for the lottery so that we can offer it to members as fairly as possible while keeping the integrity of its exclusivity.”

Perrarus, Latin for “a rare moment in time,” is an ultra-premium evolution of the latter: a blend of micro selections from fewer than 10 barrels of wines from the St. Helena, Pritchard Hill and Oakville Tench vineyards used to make Stones, which retail at $375 and earn 95 to 100 points by critics. (Followers of cult wines may be interested to know that the Oakville Tench vineyard shares a fence line with Screaming Eagle, the current 2016 release of which is fetching around $3,000 a standard bottle on the secondary market.)

 

“It’s inspired by something you might have found from an ancient ship from centuries ago, or on the bottom of the ocean”

Lawrence D. Fairchild

 

Handwritten marketing collateral undersigned by both Fairchild and winemaker Philippe Melka expresses tasting notes ranging from evocative flavors and textures — chewy chocolate and caramel, fire and char — to the downright bizarre: “Almost dead but bleeding. Wild energy. This is a leopard.”

Fairchild, who cites Jackson Pollock, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wosene, Cédric Bouteiller and Alexander McQueen among his creative influences, says the bottle he developed for Perrarus with Daryl Jones of Mr. Jones Design is a work of art in its own right.

Every amber glass bottle has been hand-blown, hand-numbered and features a prominent golden astrolabe — the precursor to the sextant which helps sailors navigate by the stars — to mark the start of harvest season.

 

While the number of Perrarus bottles will vary slightly each year, production will be extremely limited so a vintage maintains its collectability. “Perrarus was not a plan, but a vision that came from my love of creating what had never been created,” Fairchild says. “Our clients love rarity. It has taken nearly four years to bring it all together.”

Nonmembers must register for Fairchild membership to be eligible to participate in the Perrarus lottery (new membership applications may take up to 15 days to be approved). Members can then register for the Perrarus lottery Aug. 15 through Sept. 16 through the House of Perrarus website. Registrants will receive an invitation to participate in the Sept. 23 lottery; successful buyers will be notified soon after and receive their wine in December.

 

Feature image: Each of the 250 amber glass Perrarus bottles has been hand-blown, hand-numbered and features a prominent golden astrolabe.

 

Aug. 14, 2019

 

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