While this might be a bit bigger, more bombastic style wine than we would usually do on a 90+ degree day in June, we felt the need to showcase a few things that are a bit more special than usual during our 24th Anniversary month. The Venge family is well regarded in Napa as part of the new evolution of viticulture and winemaking of the 1970s that helped to inspire the modern era of great California wines. Nils was among the leaders of vineyard management for many estates, as well as developing his own winemaking style, and now son Kirk has taken over the winemaking side of the family production. Instead of being a 'brand', their wines come from 100% family owned or managed vineyard sites, where they observe practical dry farming and organic methods. Scout's Honor (named after the winery's long time resident rescue dog) is crafted in the 'California Field Blend' style, primarily Zinfandel with varying amounts of Syrah and Petit Sirah, as well as a generous portion of the rarely used Charbono grape. In Argentina the French/Italian origin grape is known as Bonarda, and for the better part of a century was mistakenly identified as Piedmont's Barbera in California. The use here definitely puts a different and noticeable profile to the wine than usually found in these field blends than usual suspects like Mourvedre, Carignan, or Alicante Bouchet.
Deep and inky in color, the first aromas show off the immediate impact of the Charbono by bringing in some currants and dark fruit tones and taming what would usually be a rich jammy swell of sweet raspberry and red fruits. The cooler dark tones also removes any sense of booziness that can overpower Zins and burn out your nose hairs. The palate is lush and fairly approachable for a young wine, showing no signs of unnecessary new oak flavors or tannins, naturally round and polished with gobs of black fruits. As it sits on the palate the youth starts to show with some emerging tannins that quickly cut through the ripe texture and leave a lingering dusty finish. Definitely a sizable wine, but nowhere near the super-sized over-boozy caricatures that the mass marketed Zin based blends all to often have become.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!