Thursday, May 16, 2024

Pour Boy lunch Venge Brown Bear Chardonnay

Pour Boys gather for FLW weekend and gala BYOB French Bistro Dinner - kick off with Pour Boys lunch with Venge Brown Bear Chardonnay

Our Pour Boys wine group gathered in Chicagoland for a gala weekend centered on the annual Frank Lloyd Wright Wright Plus Housewalk, culminating in a wine dinner at Hemingway’s French Bistro featuring some wine list selections and special BYOB bottles. 

As out of towners arrived for the weekend, wine buddy and fellow Pour Boy Bill C came over Thursday afternoon to visit and plan the weekend activities. We picked up Tuna Poke Bowls and Caesar Salads at Marianos to enjoy for lunch on the deck. I pulled from the cellar one of our favorite and currently best tasting Chardonnays for an ideal wine pairing. I think this bottle is perhaps the best tasting one in our cellar right now, irregardless of the price point.  

We first tasted this label and I wrote about Venge Vineyards and this limited release label in a these pages earlier, excerpted here back in December 2021 when we served it at a special holiday dinner - Venge Brown Ranch Chardonnay.

Venge Vineyards Brown Ranch Vineyard Los Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay 2018

This is a single vineyard designated label sourced from the 30 acre Brown Ranch Vineyard in Carneros, named for the previous cattle rancher owner Nadine Brown. The vineyard is bordered by HdV’s Hyde Vineyard and Beaulieu’s Vineyard No.9 on Old Sonoma Road in the Carneros district, straddling the rolling hills in the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. The cooling winds from the nearby San Pablo Bay, combined with the abundant midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing elegant wines that combine power and finesse, with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.

The property, formerly associated with Saintsbury Winery, was purchased in 2012 by the Renterias.

The property was planted with twenty nine acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but most of
the vines were afflicted with Eutypa, a fungi disease also known as the Dead-arm Dieback, which causes trunks or arms of the vines to essentially rot and die. Like the famous Dead-Arm Shiraz label from McLaren Vale, Australia, rather than pulling the vines out, the vineyard managers kept the rootstock, cut off the trunk just above the soil and nurtured a bud to grow into a new trunk. Like the Dead-Arm label, focusing all the mature rootstock energy into one vine branch resulted in rich, full, concentrated fruits.

The Brown Ranch’s hillside alluvial soils, with Dijon Clone 76 set into the pre-existing rootstock, produces this rich full round Chardonnay, worthy of the iconic Venge name.Winemaker's notes: The Dijon Clones are modern strains of Chardonnay carefully isolated from grapevine nursery blocks in France. These strains are selected for their incredible ability to produce the best of what the varietal has to offer and therefore have become quite popular with cool climate growers today. The cool and often foggy climate of the Brown Ranch Vineyard, located in central Carneros, Napa, allows for a slow growing season and optimal ripening. This climate aids in the balancing of acidity and lifting tropical aromas in the fruit and thus, in the finished wine. The vines were carefully hand harvested and delivered cool to the winery.

Winemaker's Notes: "This wine is stylish and freshly balanced, featuring a light, pale straw presence in the glass with a bouquet of fresh orange citrus, toasted pine nuts, mild allspice, rocky flints, and toasted oak. Crisp, savory pineapple, sweet delicious apple, savory stone fruit, and ripe pear lead into mouthwatering deliciousness.

The grapes are blended into used French Oak barrels according to a Burgundian style of winemaking, light handed on the usage of new French Oak keeping it to an average of 45%.

495 Cases were Produced

This release was rated 93 points by Wine Enthusiast and Jeb Dunnuck and 92 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.

Golden lemon colored, medium full-bodied, full, round, concentrated, complex opulent fruits with a layer almost bordering on butterscotch, accented by notes of baking spice, hints of lemon, grapefruit, ginger and a touch of peach and almond nut cream, with bright acidity, depth and balance on a full long finish.

RM 93 points.