2006 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Fivestones
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Jax Vineyards. This time for their fabled, dry-farmed, 39 year old vines, limited-production, 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Jax Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Kirk Venge
Backgrounder: Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world come from Napa Valley. A delicious and elegant example of the varietal, today’s wine is a Classic Napa Cabernet. Approachable, balanced and vivacious, this wine shows off the winemaking skills of esteemed winemaker, Kirk Venge – a fantastic Napa Cab at a price that is hard to turn down.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deepest garnet with a dense heart that shows burgundy hues through its darkening but still-clear heart. Along the edge of the wine, the finest ring of vibrant ruby encircles the glass. When swirled, skinny legs, the color of the wine, move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold and rich with heady, balanced aromas of dried meats, black plum, blackberry and candied black cherry. These are supported by mocha, smoky Bing cherry, earth and spice, all of which round out the nose, beautifully.
Feel – Smooth and softly dry on the attack, this full-bodied wine has firm but fine tannins that are well developed for a relatively youthful wine. Well balanced with good acidity and a softly flinty minerality.
Taste – Concentrated black fruit with pronounced black cherry and ripe blackberry taking the lead. Under these lie bright Bing cherry and dried cranberry, dried cherry and soft earth. These are followed by soft mocha and hints of black pepper and sweetwoods – which add to the allure and complexity.
Finish – Persistent black fruit leads to the long tailing off of ripe cherry and cranberry, with black pepper, mocha and sweetwoods rounding out the finish.
Conclusion – The 2006 Jax Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious Cabernet that is expressive and well balanced. The aromas, flavors and mouth-feel are all luxurious, giving the wine an elegant feel. With enough bright fruit to make the wine an easy pairing partner for rich foods, this wine also has enough complexity to make it an earnest solo-sipper. We paired ours with a wonderful pan-seared strip steak with red wine pan sauce and pink peppercorn butter. Check out the recipe, from Bon Appetit Magazine, here. Enjoy this exceptional wine now, or cellar for the next several years.
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KIRK VENGE: Today we are showcasing the 2006 JAX Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the Jackson Family’s Calistoga property. This wine has a slight twist in that it is a blend with 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The wine was aged for 22 months in 50% new tight grain French oak and bottled unfiltered and unfined.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KIRK: Something savory for sure. The first thing that comes is a very simple salt and pepper rubbed ribeye off the grill. The juice, salt and fat certainly lifts the fruit up in larger bodied wine like this. Pairing with food is really what enjoying wine is all about.
RED: In your opinion, what makes Calistoga so special?
KIRK: I like the consistent warmer climate and somewhat weaker soils that you find in Calistoga. Calistoga has a wide range of terroir and that of the JAX Vineyard consists of light alluvial gravel and silty loam. Situated in somewhat of a canyon setting, the vineyard has good drainage giving us the ability to stress the vines and create wonderfully complex and interesting fruit.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KIRK: Right now it is watching the ’10 vintage pass naturally through malolactic fermentation and maintaining the ‘09’s that are in barrel. We are close to the “assemblage” of the ‘09’s with bottling planned for later this summer. In the wine business there is always something to do. Either making it or marketing it, wine is forever in the forefront of your mind.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
Pretty pictures of the Jackson Family’s vineyards can be seen in these photos.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Tight, sleek, and focused with an elegant blend of currant, black cherry, loamy earth and nutmeg. Impressive for its depth and definition, this vintage seamlessly unfolds together into a long, lingering finish.
It all began with a green thumb, a 28 year old dry-farmed vineyard and a dream. In 1996, David Jackson discovered an estate rich with highly underachieving, incredibly promising cabernet sauvignon vines in northern Calistoga. But it would take more than a gardeners touch. Enter Davids wine-loving children, Kimberly and Trent. Armed with entrepreneurial spirit, fierce passion and laser beam focus, the siblings vowed to make this vineyard sing. The first order of business? Grab the most amazing winemaker in California.
As luck (and persistence) would have it, rock star Kirk Venge soon joined the family fray. Renowned for making exceptionally balanced and restrained Bordeaux-style wines, Kirk was the perfect match. Today, JAX is one of the best value estate grown boutique cabernet sauvignons available. The reviews? Rave. The price point? Remarkable. The taste? Well, we’ll just have to leave this last part up to you.
About The Winery:
In 1996, green thumb David Jackson purchased an exceptional 28 year old, dry farmed vineyard in northern Calistoga.
Having developed a great eye for detail as a former successful printing executive, David now refocuses these qualities on managing his vineyard.
Shortly after David purchased the vineyard, his entrepreneurial son, Trent got inspired to build on his father’s dream. Using the grapes from his father’s vineyard, Trent bottled and produced his first vintage in his San Francisco garage. An award winner? No, but there was promise here and an even greater determination to make wine. Trent immediately enlisted cult winemaker Kirk Venge to take over.
By the late 90’s, Trent’s focus on quality and limited production attracted a loyal word of mouth following. However working full time in technology, Trent soon began to realize that his promising hobby required full time attention. In 2002, Trent turned to his sister Kimberly, a newly minted MBA who co-founded the wine club at Vanderbilt University. Without hesitation, Kimberly jumped into the business with tenacity and passion. Within one year, Kimberly restructured the business, rebranded the wine, placed the wine in top restaurants in the Bay Area and New York, received great press, and established distribution in 8 states. The vision is to produce high quality wines, with a chic label, and fair price point. Kimberly asserts that “the next generation is looking for a modern brand, great quality, and a good story.” Now we are distributed in 26 states including Canada. Our production averages 8,000 cases per year among all varietals.
About The Winemaker:
Kirk Venge – A Napa Valley native and second generation winemaker, Kirk has been exposed to the world of winemaking from day one under the watchful eye of his father, Nils Venge. His passion for the industry continued to grow through college at UC Davis followed by tenures at several wineries including Mumm, Raptura Vintners in New Zealand, and finally Venge Vineyards. Working with our vineyards since 2003, Kirk has a keen involvement in the redevelopment, clone selection and farming practices of our vineyard site. Most importantly, he crafts our fruit into the elegant and well balanced wines that we enjoy year over year.
Varietals: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Petit Verdot, 2.5% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Calistoga, Napa Valley
Winemaker: Kirk Venge