Saturday, January 1, 2011


Virage Vineyards
Napa Valley Red Wine
Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa, California, U.S.A.
$45.00 -- Virage Vineyards, Napa, CA

Color: Deep ruby with a tinge of purple
Nose: Herb, spice, a little lovely stank, vanilla, violets
Body: Medium to full
Front: Cherry
Middle: Currant, cilantro
Back: Smooth tannins, anise 
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Cork

My affection for Cabernet Franc is well-known to my tiny following. As it happens, one of my blog's followers makes one, and this is her maiden vintage. I'm delighted to be among the first to drink this wine, and have been looking forward to it for months. As a point of information, this bottle (pictured at right with Wayne Bates pottery) wasn't a gift; indeed, I've never had a wine company send me anything to review, which shows that I have been doing something wrong!

This is a wine of tremendous subtlety, that rewards patience and a good meal to accompany it. The nose is enchanting, and more so the more air it gets. It has a combination of greenness--herby greenness, more than broccoli or that sort of thing--with dark fruit and telluric aromas that I like in some European wines and that's pretty rare in American ones.

At this price point, doubtless people who encounter this wine will decant it and give it an hour or two to open. Having gifted three bottles of it (see, Emily, I'm spreading the word in the best of ways, not just in the watered-down medium of a review!) I'm going to lay down my other two for two and five years: structurally they're built to last, and I am excited to see what the future holds for them and their younger siblings. {Note, in 2014: Just a beautiful wine, evolving slowly and surely.}