2006 Penny Lane Vineyard Sangiovese
Sangiovese •Penny Lane Vineyard
California: Napa Valley: Oakville
What We Say
RARE WINE ALERT!
Today’s highly prized wine was previously though to have been completely sold out. We got our hands of a stash belonging to a source close to the winery. These meticulously stored cases are the only one believed to be in existence, today. And we are making all of them available to you!
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine receives this special alert because it represents the best of the best among the wines that we show here
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Mission Codename: The Great Danes
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: The Wine Spies have located a secret library cache of a wine previously thought to have been completely depleted. Venge Vineyards fabled 2006 Sangiovese was so wildly sought after, that supply of the wine did not last for very long after its release. Send Agent Red to rendezvous with the collector, to retrieve the last remaining cases of this superb and very rare wine – for our very deserving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Venge Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Penny Lane Vineyard Sangiovese, Oakville, Napa Valley
Winemaker: Kirk Venge
Backgrounder: We have had the great pleasure to bring you wines made by today’s winemaker, Kirk Venge (“Ven-ghee”). These wines, from other wineries, were always superb. For today’s wine, we are very proud to bring you a wine made under Kirks own proud label, Venge Vineyards.
The most widely planted grape in all of Italy, Sangiovese, is used in everything from blended inexpensive table wines like Chianti, to the finest Super Tuscans. Italian immigrants introduced this varietal to the U.S. in the 1800’s. First plantings of this grape in the Atlas Peak region of the Napa Valley were legendary and today, some of the most exciting California Sangiovese are found there. For today’s wine, Agent Red received a secret dispatch from a trusted confidential informant. This informant, a deep cover Operative, directed Agent Red directly to Venge Vineyards. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes on today’s fantastic wine, followed by his mission report, to learn more about today’s old-world-in-California wine
The Penny Lane Vineyard is located in Oakville at the heart of the Napa Valley. This is a unique vineyard site at just 3/4 acre of Sangiovese and entirely surrounded by Cabernet Sauvignon. The 19 year old vines show that even fine Sangiovese can be grown in the land of Cabernet giants.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Soft ruby hues with perfectly concentrated color. At the rim of the glass, a rim of fine pink cuts a sharp circle around the glass. The wine is perfectly clear, right through its slightly darker core. After swirling the wine, chubby legs branch off as they move steadily toward the surface.
Smell – Soft aromatics are led by sweet cherry, blackberry, bramble and blueberry pastry with soft vanilla. Under these, and as the wine begins to open up, violets and cinnamon mingle with soft cedar, young (slightly and pleasingly green) toasty oak and a hint of orange peel.
Feel – Cool and very light on entry, than fast across the mid-palate. After a moment, fine tannins add soft grip and a plush texture. Bright acidity combines with wonderful flavors as the wine coats the entire palate.
Taste – Black cherry, young strawberry, violets and dark plum are out in front. Then, sweetwoods, soft oak and blueberry danish mingle with soft white pepper, subtle cinnamon and kola nut provide a soft but complex ending.
Finish – Softly dry, with blackberry and blueberry linger and then give way to young strawberry. Eventually, the mouth waters as soft spice and sweetwoods tail off.
Conclusion – This 2006 Penny Lane Vineyard Sangiovese is an exceptional wine and we are thrilled to be the only wine merchant in the country to make it available to you. From an extraordinary, dry farmed vineyard in Napa Valley’s Oakville AVA, this wine drinks very much like an authentic Italian Sangiovese – but with better, more expressive fruit. That is not to say that this is a fruit-forward wine. It is not. It is, however, a beautifully balanced wine that seems to impart qualities that are simultaneously savory old world and sweetly California. With a bright acidity, this is a wine that is a wonderful companion to a hearty Italian meal. This is the last of this terrific wine, so if you love great Sangiovese, we suggest that you grab some!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Kirk Venge
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1976
PLACE OF BIRTH: Napa, CA
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis – Enology & Winemaking
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Proprietor & Winemaker
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Greatness begins in the vineyards
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Multiple
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Purchasing the Venge brand from my father Nils and buying 12.6 acres in Calistoga to build a new winery and caves, set to complete in 2010
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “The vineyard determines the destiny of the winemaker.”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Kirk. We have been tracking your career for the last few years and we have featured several wines made by you. We are thrilled to be showing your Scout’s Honor today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KIRK: No worries
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
KIRK: My earliest childhood memory was riding on the tractor with my dad through our Oakville Estate vineyard. By the time I was 11, I was running the growing crews.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
KIRK: In the cellar at my father’s winery, Saddleback Cellars, and traveling the great winegrowing regions of Europe.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
KIRK: To use nearly a half century of family knowledge to push the envelope on varietal correctness and expression given the growing environment.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
KIRK: I would say it is my experience working the vineyards and my time at UC Davis conducting QC analysis that most influenced my winemaking style
RED: How long have you been making wine?
KIRK: Since as long as I can remember. I am 33 years old now, so 20 years plus ought to suffice
RED: Who do you make wine for?
KIRK: That’s an interesting question. I make wine for the varietal – and that is, I make wine that will express the varietal’s potential in the Napa Valley climate, pushing the envelope of balance.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
KIRK: Napa Valley has many growing regions that have thousands of micro-climates. We have sought out only the best areas in which to grow each varietal, which translates into about 14 vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley, two of which are estate owned.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
KIRK: It has to be in your DNA. If you get into it for something other than the love, you are not going to make it. It’s a very challenging profession that tests you every day.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KIRK: Use and building permits, lot’s of legal issues, and managing my clients’ winemaking demands and our demands for achieving perfection in winemaking.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
KIRK: With an open mind. We are very technical and detailed in the making of our wines, but at the end of the day, the joy is being able to share something that brings a smile to those around you. One should approach wine in this way, to bring pleasure into the lives of those most important to you.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
KIRK: I don’t want to single out one wine or varietal and price is really not my consideration for greatness in wine. I have traveled extensively and have tasted many a great table wine and many a great first growth. They are all equally compelling for what they offer.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
KIRK: Peace – and thanks, my man.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Venge Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
A beautifully, warm plum red color coaxes your eyes into this intoxicatingly fruit forward wine. Aromas of strawberry jam, black cherry, rhubarb pie and a touch of spice and campfire fill the nose. The palate is a flashy array of ripe cherry, cola, and red candy. We employ once used barrels to offset the tendency of delicate varietals such as Sangiovese to be overwhelmed by oak. The finished wine is savory and fruit forward, supported by firm acidity and structure that will allow it to improve for 5 to 7 years.
Vinification and Ageing: The Penny Lane Vineyard is located in Oakville, Napa Valley. This is a unique vineyard site at just 3/4 acre of Sangiovese and entirely surrounded by Cabernet Sauvignon. The 19 year old vines prove that outstanding Sangiovese can be grown in the land of Cabernet giants. We achieve the full potential and complexity on this small acreage through dry-farming, demanding the vines grow without supplied water through the growth season. Harvest took place late on October 17th, 2006. Contrary to the large vintage of 2005, yields were a touch higher in 2006 for this varietal. Approximately 5% “old vine” Charbonno from the Frediani Vineyard in Calistoga was co-fermented in the blend. Average brix at harvest was 24.2 degrees.
In The Cellar: A somewhat rare technique critical in the making of this wine is ripasso. Ripasso is an Italian term describing the use of the skins of one varietal during fermentation to lend its qualities to the juice of another, (essentially, trading out the skins of Sangiovese, in our example, with that of Charbonno). Italian Amarone
wines are made in this fashion. Although a very inexact science, it is an artistic method and tool that gives Sangiovese proper weight and density. The old vine Charbono skins lend depth of flavor and dark purple color to the wine. Via ripasso, this wine integrates from day one, resulting in fuller body and ripe character. The wine was aged for 19 months in one-year-old used Francois Frères tight grain French Oak barrels. Indigenous malolactic fermentation was employed.
About The Winery:
My Journey began on the shoulders of a giant within the California winemaking community – my father, Nils Venge. Like many in his generation of wine producers, he cut his teeth in Napa Valley in the ‘70s and ‘80s as the region was establishing notoriety and nobility amongst the world’s great wine producing regions. His establishment as a force in the production of world class wines occurred at Groth Winery, with the production of the 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, scoring a perfect 100 points from wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr.—the first ever awarded to a California producer. He started his own winery in 1988, Saddleback Cellars, where as a young man, I grew up with the winery as the backdrop for what would become my life’s work.
Today, I carry the Venge heritage forward, building on the experience and guidance instilled in me by my father, while embracing an era of experimental and technological advancement in winemaking. Never before have the standards been as high as they are today. Greatness is no longer the byproduct of mastery of one’s craft, it is the expectation.
At Venge Vineyards, we believe the vineyard provides the foundation for achieving greatness in winemaking. In essence, site determines the winemaker’s destiny. As such, we strive to find and farm only the best vineyard sources at perfectly balanced yields, pushing the bounds of our expectations surrounding viticultural management and varietal composition. In the cellar, minimalist intervention carries our vineyard selection and management forward with balanced macerations, clarification without filtration, and aging in a combination of new and used barrels to gently support the natural tannins we find in each fruit source.
These efforts aid in the achievement of growing complex, rich sources of fruit and producing wines that are characteristically distinct. Together, when grown, produced and blended, our wines sing the song of greatness.
Kirk P. Venge – Proprietor & Winemaker
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal: 90% Sangiovese, 5% Charbono, Napa Valley, 5% Syrah, Napa Valley;
T.A.: 0.66 g./100mL
Production: 480 Cases