Friday, November 4, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: Venge Vineyards

      Adding to the mélange of rich history in the region, Venge Vineyards continues hold the bar high. Hidden in plain view, they offer a relaxing experience while showcasing sexy wines! Nestled into a picturesque nook off of the Silverado Trail*, this piece of Napa Valley heaven is home to Venge Vineyards.

View from the Veranda

            The day of our tasting we were scheduled with Matt, the tasting room manager, he was very knowledgeable and facilitating. We knew where the winery was so we didn’t need directions, but if you don’t know you'll want to check a map before hand. The winery and farm house are visible just over the vines, set about ¾ mile off the trail, but you wouldn’t know it unless you knew to look.

Venge Vineyard- Winery and Farm House

            Once on the property we headed past the winery and up to the Farm House. Which is just that, a house! It has a full kitchen, living room, large dining area and a beautiful veranda. The weather was still warm so we opted to sit outdoors, and the view was stunning! The property is west facing and backs up to the Palisade Mountains; there are scenic views across the valley floor to the Mayacamas and up to the vineyards on Spring Mountain.

The Veranda at Venge Vineyard

 Tasting Overview:

The Standouts-

2010 Spettro Proprietary White: $26 a bottle-This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. On the nose, I found pink grapefuit and honedew melon blending with aromas of white peach and allspice. The palate holds a rich texture accompanied by notes of pippin apple, key lime, cooked plantain and summer breeze (wait is summer breeze a flavor?)  No, but you get the picture, this is a great front porch sipping wine. 

2009 Muhlner Steps Vineyard Syrah: $45 a bottle- The nose took me back to memories of my mom roasting coffee beans. A rich espresso was followed by compact boysenberry and a hint of toasted caramel. On the palate I found great earthy qualities that paired nicely with black cherry, baking coco and fig. A long finish, young tannin and good acidity say this wine will be drinking well for years. I look forward to opening this bottle with a fennel encrusted pork loin and seeing how it has developed over time.

2009 Scout's Honor Proprietary Red: $38 a bottle-A unique blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Syrah intersect to create a diverse and concentrated wine. On the nose raspberry and herbaceous scents fuse with anise and damp earth. The Zinfandel makes itself known on the palate, showing off it’s salacious side early; cherry bubble gum (ya, I know just go with it…it’s my palate not yours!) and ripe red berries give way to currant, a hint of coconut and woody flavors (yes woody as in what it would taste like if you chewed on a stick, this is not a bad thing). The balance between the bold and the beautiful isn’t quite there yet, but if you can get your paws on this you shouldn't think twice

2009 Bone Ash Cabernet Sauvignon: $76 a bottle-This was the show stopper! The nose opens with ripe fig, plum and crushed clove with a hint of licorice. On the palate lots of dark fruit is followed by burnt marshmallow, dried tobacco and a hint of truffle. The complex and persistent flavors intertwine with youthful yet firm tannins, letting you know it will be drinking well for many years to come.  

   With our last glass of wine in hand Matt took us on a tour of the winery, it was the beginning of harvest and the smells and sounds were crush as usual. After a quick tour, and running into Kirk who was burning the late afternoon harvest oil, we headed back to the farm house.

    Venge Vineyards is available by appointment only, and if you can get one do it!  The experience is welcoming and relaxing, and the wines are unparalleled! The style by which Kirk makes his wines is one-of-a-kind.

Venge Vineyards
4708 Silverado Trl
Calistoga, CA 94515-9796
(707) 942-9100

Lisa's fun fact of the day :)
*The Silverado Trail got it's name for being the main route wagons traveled carrying silver from the mine town of Silverado. Although the town and success of the mine were short lived, the name stuck when Oat Hill Mine in Calistoga began mining quicksilver (also known as mercury or cinnabar). Quicksilver was used in the gold mines of California to separate the gold from the sand or ore in which it was found.

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