Saturday, January 6, 2024

Venge and Beau Vigne wines with intimate family dinner

Venge and Beau Vigne wines with intimate family dinner - Venge Napa Syrah with Vodka Cream Sauce Pasta

We were invited to son Alec's and Vivianna's house for dinner to watch IU Hoosier Big Ten Basketball. Alec prepared a delicious vodka cream sauce with penne pasta, baked bread and a delightful Cesar Salad. 

Prior to dinner, Alec opened a nice Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay for sipping with some artisan cheese and with the salad course. He served a delectable Saint Andre Triple Cream cheese from Murray's Cheese that was an ideal pairing with the Chardonnay.

 I've written in these pages the irony that Murray's Cheese is now available locally from our Mariano's Grocery Store. We used to shop at Murray's Cheese Shop and dine at Murray's Cheese and Wine Bar on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village in New York with Alec and Viv when they lived in Manhatten. After they moved to Chicago, Murray's was sold to Kroger who had also acquired the Mariano's Grocery chain.

Beau Vigne Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay 2021

Both Alec and we have collected several labels of Napa Valley wines from this producer Beau Vigne. This is the first time I have seen or tasted any of their white wines including this Reserve Chardonnay. 

 Winemaker's notes - "2021 Reserve Chardonnay -this is Napa Valley after all- and while you might expect today’s offering  to resemble the classic weighty, juicy, oaky versions, you are absolutely correct. We feel this 2021 ranks as one of the most pleasant Reserve Chardonnay's we've produced to date."

The Vineyard runs along a northern stretch of Carneros soils that are thin and rocky. As a result, these old vines struggle to produce even the most modest of crops.  

Tasting Notes: Fresh almond, apple turnover with hints of rose and lavender honey. The concentrated mouthfeel is draped in white stone fruits. The wine showcases our commitment to minimal intervention winemaking.

For pairing with dinner, I took a Venge Vineyards Napa Valley Syrah

I've written often in these pages about the fun we have with the "V" collection of wines from Venge Vineyards with our daughter-in-law Vivianna. 

Venge Vineyards Napa Valley Stagecoach Vineyard Block 1-4 Syrah 2015

This is produced by Kirk Venge, son of legendary Nils’ and Dianna Venge, who was exposed to winemaking at an early age and has proven to be as talented a winemaker as his father.

In 2008, Kirk stepped into Nil's shoes and acquired full ownership of Venge Vineyards in 2008. To this day, Kirk continues the Napa Valley heritage, focusing on select vineyard sites that produce fruit worthy of bearing the Venge family name. 

We visited Nil's at the Penny Lane Venge Family Vineyard and Winery down in central Napa Valley, and then went up and met Kirk at his new estate near Calistoga back in 2002 as chronicled in this blogpost - Visit to Venge Vineyards and Nils and Kirk Venge.

Since then, we've acquired many Venge labels from his various brands that extend beyond the Venge name.

This is from the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard, which according to the producer, "Stagecoach is one of the Napa Valley’s largest and leading mountain vineyards located near the Atlas Peak AVA at an elevation of around 1,700 feet above sea level. The soil is very rocky and topography very steep. Temperatures are warm in the midday and cold at night. This diurnal effect makes for a balance of vibrant acidity and fruit structure that is concentrated and focuessed. “Block I-4” is referenced in this bottling because of its very high elevation relative to the rest of the Stagecoach Vineyard."  

"Stagecoach Vineyard continues to produce Syrah of unparalleled quality. The Syrahs from that mountain vineyard really shine from the steep, rocky terroir of the location."

The 2017 vintage possesses a bold, deep, dark color that opens the door to an array of black fruit aromatics. Cassis, blackberry, warm toasted bread and French Oak vanillin all fill the glass with purpose. While still young and in development, the palate shows superior promise with minerals, tongue swirling acidity, cherry and black plum.  The tannins are firm and support the back palate for several moments beyond the initial taste. If cellared correctly, this wine will continue to improve through 2029.

The wine was managed under the Venge barrel program of 100% French oak with 60% entirely new Francois Frères from the tight grained Voges forest in both medium and heavy toast. Bottled unfiltered.

This was the latest tasting of another vintage of a mini-vertical collection of this limited release label I picked up at auction, and it was by far the best so far. 

This was awarded 93 points by Wine Enthusiast and 92 points by Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator.

This is the style and profile of wine we most enjoy - Linda's absolute favorite, big, thick, chewy full throttle full fruit Syrah.

Dark inky purple garnet colored, full bodied, powerful concentrated chewy unctuous textured black and blue fruits with a layer of vanilla and spice with notes of what Robert Parker's Wine Advocate calls "Chinese five spice, hoisin and cardamom over a core of plum preserves, violets and blackberry pie with a waft of earth", with firm, big but polished fine-grained tannins on a tongue coated long finish.

RM 94 Points.