2003 Blend 25
California: Napa Valley
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from B Cellars.
Mission Codename: Love Potion No. 25, Version 1
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Last year The Wine Spies infiltrated B Cellars and recovered their stellar 2004 Blend 25. Send Agent Red to penetrate the winery’s archives and return with an older vintage of the same wine!
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: B Cellars
Wine Subject: 2003 Blend 25
Winemaker: Kirk Venge
Backgrounder: Our Operatives loved the 2004 Blend 25 so much that they have been clamoring for more. To make things interesting, we sent Agent Red back to the winery to recover a cache of the wine…. But this time the 2003 vintage of the wine. B Cellars, based in Napa Valley, takes a slightly different approach to its expert wine making. The focus at B Cellars is blending. This is evident, not only among the B Cellars team, but also among their wines. Each wine, or potion, is a unique proprietary blend that highlights the strengths of each component varietal and balances with its other varietals. Read Agent Reds tasting notes below. Those will be followed by our original notes of the 2004 vintage – so that you can compare the differences.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile for today’s wine, _the 2003 vintage_:
Look – Dark burgundy with deep concentration of color though its deep and almost black heart. When swirled, the surface of the wine moves fast and then settles fast, leaving behind thick, slow-moving legs
Smell – Bold intensity on the nose with rushes of lush blueberry, blackberry, cherry and smokey earthen raspberry, limestone and subtle cigar box or even soft sandalwood
Feel – Full-bodied, round up front, then mouth-coating, fleshy, mouthwatering and gradually drying with medium to big tannins that taper to unveil the wine’s big flavors
Taste – Delicious, deep, with hugely dark and dusky flavors. Present here are deep layers of dark stonefruit, ripe blackberry, cassis, plum and cherry tempered against a soft and toasty oak with follow-on flavors of flavors of dark chocolate, salty licorice, leather and subtle sweet pipe tobacco
Finish – A big and long finish that begins with your mouth thickly coated with feel and flavor- then the flavors linger for a period before they tail off – and then they suddenly bounce back revealing a new sweetness as your watering mouth reminds you to enjoy another big sip!
Conclusion – Shout it through the valleys and the vineyards, this is an exceptionally GREAT wine!. We bow to your greatness, Kirk Venge, for your ability to source great fruit and then create magical blends with astounds and amazes us. I’m not kidding around here, I love this wine. It is a big, almost giant wine, but it does not slap you across the mouth or overpower your senses. Rather, what you find here is great balance and sophistication. The aromatics and the flavors reveal the best-of characteristics of each of the three varietals used in this wine. The Syrah comes through as dark and earthy. The Cabernet Sauvignon as rich and dark. The Merlot shows as bright with great acids and bold flavors. If you enjoyed the 2004, please do yourself a giant favor and experience that one-year-older wine. That extra bit of bottle age, combined with the skillful blending makes this wine even better than the ’04… Which we also raved about!
And now, for comparison, _the previously shown 2004 vintage_
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple, almost black with an inky quality and thick slow legs.
Smell – Medium intensity on the nose with tart blackberries and cherries, toasted oak and hints of leather.
Feel – Full-bodied, almost chewy in nature, and dry with solid tannins that fade revealing its great flavors.
Taste – Juicy ripe and tart blackberries and cherries balanced against oak with layered flavors of black pepper, mocha and spice.
Finish – A great long and clean finish that tapers smoothly and continues to reveal its flavors.
Conclusion – The Blend 25 is a delicious combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with each varietal complementing the other and also showing the strengths of each. The juiciness of the Syrah balances perfectly the intensity and solid tannins of the Cabernet. If you are a fan of either varietal, then you’ll love this wine.
What follows is our Original B Cellars Mission Report, in which Agent White must recover missing Wine Spies agent, Agent Red:
Agent White Reporting.
Begin live Mission Update.
Agent Red is missing and I have, once again, been called upon to preform reconnaissance and, if necessary, extraction of an AWOL Wine Spy. Why some of my fellow spies get the glamorous missions that get them in too deep at times, while I am stuck at Central Command until its time to perform a recovery, is beyond me.
Making my way to Napa in our Spy Plane, I check Agent Red’s locating beacon on my handheld. Good. I see that he has not moved in several hours. At least this will make the recovery easier.
Now at Red’s hotel I can tell that he is not in the room reserved for him by Central Command. Instead, I find the he is in the Presidential Suite. Great, I get to explain this to Wine Spies Comptroller, Dr. Decimal.
Deftly bypassing the electronic lock on the door I am inside. Agent Red is not in the bedroom. Instead, I find him under a pile of blankets, in front of the rooms massive fireplace. He is clutching a notepad and is surrounded by dozens of crumpled pages. Next to him is a mostly full bottle of red wine. I recognize it as a bottle of Blend 25 from B Cellars. At least he did something right by recovering the wine.
Without waking Red, I gently take the notepad from him. Here is what is written on its single remaining page.
Blend 25, I must tell you how I truly feel
Being with you feels surreal
Never shall I kiss another’s lips
After kissing you and taking sips
Blend 25, your rich red beauty
Sharing you is now my duty
Words simply can’t express
Your shining beauty and finesse
Blend 25, you mean so much to me
I love you forever, that I guarantee
Eternal bliss is where I’m bound
Near you, everything is sound
My heart’s for you, I hope you like it
Because loving you, I will never quit
I look forward to our next moment together
With you, life cannot become any better
Blech! With writing like this, I’d stay lost, too!
Oh, well, while I am here I may as well taste the wine and offer my own report (see Tasting Profile Above).
I am back at Central Command. Agent Red is nursing his pride. He claims that tasting Blend 25 put him at a loss for words. While I do agree that the wine is incredible, his performance during this mission was questionable at best.
That all behind us now, I will say that I love Blend 25. It is a very good wine.
B Cellars, based in Napa Valley, takes a slightly different approach to its expert wine making. The focus at B Cellars is blending. This is evident, not only among the B Cellars team, but also among their wines. Each wine, or potion, is a unique proprietary blend that highlights the strengths of each component varietal and balances with its other varietals. I’m sure, once you’ve tasted these wines, you know why us spies call B Cellar’s wines Love Potions.
As for Agent Red, he’s on temporary leave. With a bottle of Blend 25.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the B Cellars Tasting Room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Blend 25 invites tasting with its saturated purple colors. Layered with black cherry syrup and currants and framed by notes of oak and cooking spices. A big rush of fruit on the palate with lavish quantities of cherry integrated with ripe tannins in the middle, carrying through to the finish. Unfiltered and unfined. Enjoy now or ages gracefully for a decade or more.
Blending Talents, Experience and Fine Napa Wines:
Just as the blending of two or more world-class wines can make an even more palatable potion, the uniting of two over-achieving entrepreneurs can create a union that is more effective than either one alone.
When B Cellars’ founder Jim Borsack first encountered his partner Duffy Keys at a fourth of July barbeque in 2002, both executives were exploring new life paths in the wine business. Over a drop of the good stuff, of course, their journeys became intertwined when they discovered that they not only shared the same tastes in wine but were also on parallel missions to acquire vineyard property.
In the spring of 2003, they scrapped their solo endeavors, formed B Cellars, and got serious about structuring a first-rate wine company predicated upon two absolute principles: first, to produce exceptional artisan wines, season after season, by employing a multi-vineyard strategy, and second, to develop distinct flavors by blending wines from mutually complementary varietals.
Not long after they met the third key player, Kirk Venge named “One of the Top 20 New Winemakers in the World” by Food & Wine Magazine (October 2005). Kirk brought with him a 37 year winemaking legacy via his father, Nils, and a keen understanding of the Napa appellation. A bond was established almost immediately. “With Kirk’s passion for great wine, first-hand knowledge and commitment to excellence, it quickly became apparent that he was the ideal winemaker for B Cellars,” said Jim.
All team members were in concert with the idea of blending the finest red wines from the Napa Valley Appellation, and Kirk was given the mandate to create three proprietary blends of consummate quality from year to year.
The B Cellars name and logo stand for a commitment to seasonless excellence. The letter ‘b’ and the degree symbol º refer to BRIX, a wine term which defines the optimal sugar/alcohol content in grape juice that indicates the potential for greatness.
B Cellars is committed to the artisan approach, creating perfectly balanced and complex wines. We are confident you will enjoy them and be proud to share them with friends and family.
Blend: Syrah 49%, Cabernet Sauvignon 36%, Merlot 15%
Production: 463 Cases
Harvested: September-October 2003
Appellation: Napa Valley