We met Kirk Venge of Venge Vineyards. We had a chance to taste some of his wines. The first was the Venge Bianco 2005 Napa Valley
Once poured, a very vibrant, straw color comes to view. A bouquet of fresh cut lemon grass and lime rind from both the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are the first scents to meet the nose. The middle aromas in the nose are those of a flower shop and cotton candy is a gift from the Viognier. It is a fresh, zesty transition to the palate with crisp bright citrus and grapefruit flavors with an underlying acid structure that lasts for several moments. The overall is a bright, crisp white with good acidity that will pair very well with scallops, ceviche and pasta with a buttery cream sauce. These were the official tasting notes and we all agreed 100%. This was a nice refreshing summer wine and very well balanced.
The second was the Venge Sangiovese 2005 Napa Valley. A beautiful, deep crimson color preludes this wine’s beautiful strawberry jam, pomegranate and rhubarb aromas. The once used barrels give it just a splash of oak without steering it away from its core of fruit. Although there is muscle in this wine it shows great reserve. It is savory and fruit forward and supported by firm acidity with structure that will help it age and continue to improve for 5 to 7 years.
The third was Kirk’s Venge Merlot 2005 Napa Valley. This wine surprised us. It was very unlike a “common” merlot from Napa. Refined and elegant is how best to describe this age worthy Oakville Merlot. Only a handful of Merlots possess such a dark purple and black color. Wafts of sweet red candied fruit, vanilla and warm barrel caramels delightfully lift from the glass. The palate features flavors of ripe cherry cola, cocoa and a touch of mineral reminiscent of a fine Pomerol. The entry and mid palate is silky and delivers seamlessly. The balanced interweaves of ripe tannin, modest acidity and rich texture form to create a polished finish. This wine will drink well now through 2016. After that we did not think it could get much better but it did. Next up on the list was the Venge “Scouts Honor” from Napa Valley.
We all recognized the Zenfandel right away from the nose. Scout is proudly looking down on us as we eagerly release this year’s effort. We sure miss him more than ever these days. You never forget the pet you cared for the most and he was surely the one! Lucy our Golden Retriever reminds us a lot of Scout but there was only one Venge Winery Dog original. The blend is again true to type for the Scouts. At 68% it is primarily Zinfandel with the balance divided equally; 16% Petite Sirah and 16% Charbonno. We are so happy to have the Petit and Charbonno varietals that fight so hard in making this eclectic blend. I’ve written before and have to reiterate again what a pleasure it is to make blended wines. With approximately 8 different vineyard and varietal components there is such a variety of creativity that can result. Being that we have shown Golden Retrivers for over 1o years this had to be a favorite.
Venge 2004 Cabernet Sauvingon 2004 Napa Valley. Only about 525 cases made of this nice Cabernet .Powerful, ripe, complex and memorable. These words speak loudly of this rich and bold wine born from a quintessential Napa Valley vintage. From the first moments in the glass, this deep red Cabernet absolutely comes to life. The nose is layered with fragrances of ripe black cherry, integrated oak vanilla and a light dusting of black pepper spice. With a bit of time to open up, subtle layers of French barrel roast and espresso mingle the nuances. Fresh and ripe fruit flavors of cherries, plums and currants lead the charge on the early palate attack. Typical of a young Oakville Cabernet, the structure and makeup is youthful but give way to the pure red stone fruit flavors that make up the true heart and soul of this wine. Anything but basic, your senses will be sent on a very satisfying ride! This wine will continue to improve for 3 to 5 years and should survive well to 2022 or longer with ideal collaring conditions.