Verismo Wines

2006 Stretto Red Wine

Red Blend

California: Napa Valley

Offer Expired:Sep 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Precision Tuned

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Send Agent Red infiltrate Verismo Wines, to secure their delicious red blend, Stretto, a wine that contains the same fruit that is found in some of the most highly-prized ultra-premium wines.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Verismo Wines

Wine Subject: 2006 Stretto Red Wine

Winemaker: Patrick Saboe


Made from fruit grown by the D’Ambrosio brothers, today’s wine is a special treat at a great price. Verismo makes this 2006 Stretto Red from the same family vineyard sources as ultra-premium wineries like Caymus, Paul Hobbs, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Duckhorn, and many others.

Red blends are a favorite of many a Wine Spies Operative. Perhaps this is because a great blend is like a great All-star sports team, where the coach gets to choose the best players. In the case of today’s wine, Stretto’s winemaker was able to pick from the finest lot’s of the best wines. Today’s Strettois a great example of how a wine can be born of great blending – from the best vineyard sources.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark ruby hues, when viewed from the side. View the wine from the top, and it shows lighter brilliant ruby tones, with perfect clarity. Swirl the wine and watch skinny legs fall from up high.

Smell – A gorgeous and dusky combination of smoky and sweet, led by dark cherry, blackberry and black plum. These are followed by spiced oak, crunchy fall leaves and subtle dried herbs – with a touch of soft cocoa powder at the very tail end.

Feel – With an immediate medium body, the wine is quickly mouth-filling and softly grippy. On opening, firm tannins spread a mineral-laden dryness from the center of the palate, outward. Gradually, this dryness spreads to the lips and cheeks.

Taste – Smoky dark cherry, dark cranberry, roasted plum and ripe blackberry. These dark fruit flavors are soon joined by soft spice, toasty soft oak, freshly ground black pepper and dark minerals.

Finish – Long and lingering with smoky blackfruit, soft pepper, dark chocolate and minerals

Conclusion – On opening, this wine exhibits a boldness that softens after some good swirling. It maintains its great character and complexity, but it softens nicely, revealing more authentic fruit flavors and a softening feel. This wine is blended from grapes from the same vineyard sources as Caymus, Paul Hobbs, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Duckhorn, and more. A food-friendly wine, we enjoyed our bottles with a grilled bone-in ribeye that was smothered in sauteed wild mushrooms. This wine would be equally at home with hard cheeses. Decant for optimum results and lay a few bottles down, as it will continue to progress nicely for the next few years.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Patrick Saboe

WINE EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker – Verismo (2007-Present), Winemaker – Pezzi King Vineyards (2007-2008), Winemaker – Petroni Vineyards (2006-2007), Assistant Winemaker – Keller Estate (2003-2006)

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Start with amazing grapes, then don’t mess it up! Farming is the definitely the key. I try to capture what the fruit brings to the wine without overpowering it with heavy oak or extraction techniques. I try to give each wine minimal, yet careful, handling and let the magic happen for the most part on its own.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “It takes a lot of beer to make good wine”



AGENT RED: Greetings, Patrick. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Stretto Napa Valley Red Wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

PATRICK SABOE: Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to share some of the wine that I have helped to make.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

PATRICK: Well, I worked in the restaurant industry for ten years in my hometown Charleston, SC, and my love of wine definitely started then. But it was not until I had a bottle of 1990 Domaine de la Romanee Conti (man, that wine was incredible!), that I was convinced that some day I would make wine, perhaps when I retired. Then my wife and I came out to CA on our honeymoon during harvest time in 1996. We had an amazing time and on the flight home, the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. I turned to my wife and told her that I wanted to go back to school for winemaking and I could not wait until retirement. She was incredibly supportive and excited, so we moved out west!

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

PATRICK: I have worked with several talented winemakers: Michael McNeill – Hanzell Vineyards, Jeff Hinchliffe – Hanna Winery, Jeff Virnig – Robert Sinskey Vineyards, to name a few. But I think that my preference for wines that are more elegant and balanced has had the largest impact on my style. I prefer to do as little as possible to the wine. I like to use an old world approach with new world fruit.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

PATRICK: Mostly for myself (a bit selfish, I know!). I admit that I do really enjoy it when other people like the wine as well. But I became a winemaker because of my passion for wine and I wanted to enjoy what I do. My goal every day is do as little of the things that I have to do, as many of the things that I want to!

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

PATRICK: The 2006 Stretto Red is a fun and yummy wine. It is a blend of 87% Merlot, 6% Syrah, 4% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were from our ranches in Yountville and Coombsville in Napa Valley. The wine was aged for 20 months in all French oak barrels (20% new). It is very approachable and is tasting great now. It is medium-bodied, with red and black fruit flavors and a nice, round mouthfeel. I think that is a great everyday wine.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

PATRICK: It is quite food-friendly. I have had it with everything from leg of lamb to grilled sausages to wood-oven pizzas. It goes great just with your favorite cheese also.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?

PATRICK: It is no doubt that some of the best wines in the world come from Napa Valley. While the weather is never exactly the same year to year, the conditions are usually close to ideal during the growing season. Being from South Carolina where it rains frequently during the summer, I did not realize until I moved here that the weather from April-October is so predictable (i.e. it does not rain). The warm days, cool nights and mornings, and the lack of rain are great for most types of grapes and they thrive here.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

PATRICK: We are preparing to bottle the 08 Cabernet, Malbec and Merlot soon, so blending trials occupy most of my time for the moment. I am quickly, getting ready for harvest as well.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

PATRICK: I recommend a daily approach! I think that people should think of wine as a part of your everyday routine.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

PATRICK: There should be nothing mysterious or mystifying about wine. Many people are often intimidated when asked what they like or what their opinion is of a wine. Everyone has their own impressions of any given wine (or music, art, fashion, etc…), and each of those is equally correct. No one is more of expert on your own palate than you. Wine is made to be drunk, so drink up!

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!

What the winery says

About This Wine:

The 2006 Stretto has a rich ruby color with aromas of ripe Bing cherries, blueberries and rose pedals, with sweet vanilla accents. This wine has a supple mouth feel on entry– that highlights barrel spice, red fruits and jammy flavors, with a beautifully well balanced finish of soft oak infused tannins.

Winemaking: Cold soaked for 3 days on skins with two daily pump-over’s. Aged 20 Months in 20% New French Oak. Barrels program includes; Saury, Treuil and Nadalie

About The Winery:

Verismo Wines is a family owned business owned by four brothers, Don, Nick, Frank and John D’Ambrosio. Before Verismo Wines was conceived the four brothers ran a traditional Italian restaurant called, “Frankie Johnnie and Luigi Too” located in Mountain View, California, and New York Style Sausage Company in Sunnyvale, CA. The D’Ambrosio brothers only mandate in all their ventures is, homemade fresh food and products, and lots of it. The combination of delicious recipes, hard work and dedication led to the D’Ambrosio brother’s family success.

Each brother focused and specialized on a certain aspect of the family business. Don and Nick managed New York Style Sausage Company in Sunnyvale, while Frank and John ran the restaurant division. For two decades both businesses expanded and flourished.

In 1983 Frank and his wife Toni fell in love with the Napa Valley. They bought a cute house on a small parcel from Doc Williams who was retiring and moving to the city. The small ranch came with a tractor, a thousand “pinot chardonnay” vines and a pair of Felco pruning shears. The Doc graciously showed Frank the ropes of vineyard management. That first year, John Thatcher from Cuvaison bought the eight tons of fruit, and an agriculture career was born…

The four brothers decided to let Frank start a passive real estate portfolio in Napa and developed D’Ambrosio Brothers Investment Company, (DBIC). DBIC was successful in selling all their fruit for two decades until the release of the movie “Sideways” which featured Merlot as less desirabable wine. Because Merlot constituted the majority of DBIC’s production DBIC saw a loss in revenue.

Michael Beaulac, the winemaker at St. Supery, had been buying DBIC fruit for some time and had agreed to accommodate DBIC with a custom crush program. The 2006 harvest was so good that DBIC was able to sell twenty tons at the “hopper.” It was happening; the DBIC’s Ultra- Premium fruit was turning into their own ultra-premium wine.

In 2006, Aaron DeBeers was hired to manage the DBIC vineyards and to make and develop the wine program. Aaron formulated Verismo Wines LLC, and its value labels Stretto and Stella wines. Verismo Wines and concepts were designed to embody the traditions and values that had made the D’Ambrosio brothers successful for the past four decades. Verismo (VER-EEZ-MO) is the depiction of realism in Italian opera and literature during the period of 1875 to 1895. Realism in the arts is an important shift in western culture that allows for the celebration of everyday people and their efforts. As a result Verismo Wines is real people making real wine for everyone to enjoy.

After selling “Super-fruit” for two decades to many of the Napa Valley wine industry stars, such as Caymus, Paul Hobbs, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Duckhorn, and many others, Verismo Wines, and its value labels, Stretto and Stella will now shine with their own light.

Our wines are designed to bring forth outstanding quality from the vineyard directly to the consumer at an exceptional value. Because Verismo Wines is a subsidiary of DBIC, DBIC is able to provide the same quality fruit to Verismo for a fraction of the price that it normally charges to other wineries. We take pride in our ability to provide exceptional wines at an exceptional price to our loyal cliental. Thank you for your support and patronage!

About The Winemaker:

Patrick Saboe – Patrick graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, but his love of (obsession with) wine began more than ten years before in the restaurant business in his home state of South Carolina. After a honeymoon in Napa and Sonoma counties, Patrick realized that he was no longer satisfied with just drinking wine, and shortly thereafter began down a path that gained him acceptance to UCD and moved his family to California. After graduation and years earning his stripes at Robert Sinskey, Hanna, and Keller Estate, Patrick went on to become the winemaker for boutique producers Petroni Vineyards and Pezzi King Vineyards.

In the summer of 2007, Patrick decided to take on his most exciting challenge (other than agreeing to have baby number three) as winemaker for Verismo Wines. At Verismo, Patrick continues his goal of crafting unique wines that exhibit a nice balance of intensity, elegance and texture. He believes that a minimalist approach to both farming and winemaking yields the best results for the vineyards, the workers and the wine.

In his spare time, Patrick reads about wine, raises three kids, thinks about wine, works on his Honey-Do list, talks about wine, enjoys golf and hiking, and most importantly drinks wine.

Technical Analysis:

Blend: 87% Merlot, 6% Syrah, 4 % Malbec, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Vineyards: Las Cerezas, Yountville, Napa Valley, Rapp Ranch, Coombsville, Napa Valley

Harvested: Merlot, Syrah & Malbec October 24, 2006, Cabernet Sauvignon, November 15, 2006

Brix: 25.7 Average

Alcohol: 14.5 %

Bottle date: July 24, 2008

Production: 83 Barrels

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