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Visit to Venge Vineyards

Venge Vineyards

Our first full day in Napa Valley was one I was looking forward to as we would pay a return visit to one of my favorites, Venge Vineyards. The day began rather early for me at around 5:45 am breakfast and coffee was not yet available so I decide to make a trip down to the hot tub and pool at the Inn. A twenty minute sitting in the hot tub then a swim in the cool morning water of the pool and I was ready for a great day. As always we had a nice full breakfast before leaving the Inn and then it was off to the local St Helena Sunshine Market to pick up a picnic lunch. The Venge appointment was for 10:00am and we arrived right on time to their new location in Calistoga. A short ride up the driveway past rows of vineyards and you arrive at a large beautiful ranch house complete with a wraparound porch, lush gardens and a waterfall out front.

 

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We stepped inside and our host Lin gave us the grand tour of the building and described the plan for a future tasting salon. You may remember if you followed our last year trip report, we met Lin at the old Venge location, the Rossini Ranch property, and happened to be the last group to do a tasting there as they were closing to make the move to the Calistoga property. It was a visit we all will always remember, as we first learned of Venge’s fantastic wines and watched Lin close the cave doors for the last time. Lin described plans owner/winemaker Kirk Venge has to convert the existing ranch home into tasting salon, with caves, a new production facility and new vineyard plantings. Of course they are awaiting county approval on the plans before the work can begin.

After the tour we sat down at the long wooden tasting table that survived the move and tasted a selection of Venge’s line up with Lin filling us in on news from the last year. We started with the 2008 Champ des Fleurs Proprietary white, a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Viognier. A refreshing white wine, with flavors of tropical fruit and citrus and a hint of white peach. We then tried a selection of reds including my favorite Scout’s Honor, a red blend of primarily Zinfandel at 68%, Petite Sarah 15% and Old Vine Charbonno 17%. The blend of this wine may change from year to year but I am a big fan of the last two vintages. I will not give descriptions on all Venge’s selection of reds which includes Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel. For tasting notes visit their web site at www.vengevineyards.com. We completed our tasting and update on the past years news, and of course ordered a nice selection to be shipped home.

Lin then arranged an appointment for us at Schramsberg for a tour of the famous Champagne caves which was not easy as remember the day was July 4th and Schramsberg was rather busy. Well, she does have a connection, her husband Ron who was actually our tour guide. It was Ron who made our appointment with Lin at the old Venge location last year after we visited a winery he previously worked at. I can tell you we feel almost like family having swapped many stories of our past, viewed wedding photos of their son who married this past year and the of my granddaughter who was born just before our trip, after some group pictures and hugs it was time to say good bye and head over to Schramsberg.

A funny note: the Wine Country Inn has their daily afternoon tasting and appetizers with the tasting handled by a different local winery each day. What a surprise when we walked in one afternoon later in the week and there was Lin pouring the Venge wine, more laughs, hugs and another fond memory. We will definitely be in touch with Lin throughout the year.

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