Friday, February 19, 2021

Venge Scouts Honor Trio

Venge Scouts Honor Trio - Big Red Blend Replay

Following our opening a Venge Scouts Honor for a Big Red easy sipping wine with cheeses and snacks the other night, we had another friend over for more of the same. The girls finished off the remains of the bottle from the other night to much fanfare, so I trolled the cellar and found this aged vintage release of the label. 

I was discussing the new label branding for this label, that I fear with the new upgraded packaging, coupled with the long run of high marks, will portend an increase in price ahead. Many times over the years we've seen a favorite label gain notoriety for a big year or a string of big years resulting for a big run-up in the price. This is understandable and acceptable when it rewards the producer for work well done. Too often it is exploited by the producer who raises the price precipitously above the price point for the label, taking it to another level, leaving the budget conscious fan base behind as the price enters a new strata. I won't name names but many readers will know one or more examples. 

Never-the-less, upscale premium packaging with painted labels is now the norm for Venge Vineyards labels, from the traditional legacy Napa bottlings to the newer Sonoma Russian River Valley releases under the Venge Vineyards brand, and the new Kirk Venge venture Croix Estate wines from the Russian River estate and winery.  

From our label library archive, here are more earlier branding labels of Scout's Honor, the 2001 vintage featuring the water color art library label. 


The premium upscale packaging of the new era Venge Vineyards and Croix Estate branding with painted bottles. 

Back to Scout's Honor, interestingly, in light of the above comments on pricing, Cellartracker records indicated the price for this vintage release was about 50% of the current selling price for this wine, albeit twenty years later.

Lo and behold, I found a vintage release with the old previous packaging label, from the 1998 vintage, certainly time to drink. 

Here shown are the three generations of labels for this wine, the original water color label that was part of a collection of colorful paintings for each label in the portfolio, the recent era label, and the latest release painted bottle for the 2019 release. 

Venge Vineyards "Scout's Honor" Napa Valley Red Blend 1998

According to my tasting notes, I last tasted this label release back in 2012 when I wrote, "This vintage selection was showing its age - from the brownish-orange rust hue rimming the glass to the earthy leather bramble taste that may have taken over for some of the fruit. Never-the-less the medium body was full of black raspberry and black cherry fruits accented by smoke and hints of creosote. Resembles the 1996 more than the 2001 release of this wine."

Amazingly, nine years later, tonight's tasting experience was the same as that earlier one, as if this wine was stuck in time at the point it was back in 2012. Still holding its own, at that point, but time to drink up. Notably, this is our last bottle of aged vintage release. 

The blend for this release was 85% Zinfandel and 15% Charbono. 

In that earlier earlier release tasting note back in 2012, I wrote about the Charbono varietal grape.

At twenty-two years, the fill level, label, cork and foil were in ideal condition.

 Upon opening this had a funky barnyard nose, which as expected did burn off after forty-five minutes to an hour. 

Never-the-less, the tasting profile was remarkably consistent with that earlier note, this vintage selection was showing its age - with a bit of that brownish-orange rust hue rimming the glass, and the same  earthy leather bramble taste that may have taken over for some of the fruit. It resembled the same medium body with black raspberry and black cherry fruits accented by smoke and hints of creosote and some earthy leather. 

RM 87 points.


The  Venge Vineyards Label Library Archive is on my winesite label library pages featuring a selection of the Venge libary of water color labels from the nineties.

Venge Penny Lane Vineyard Family Reserve 2000 Sangiovese label