Napa Valley Farms
2006 Napa Valley Viognier
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: When goats fly
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Locate a superior Napa Valley Viognier – and gently persuade the winery to let our Operatives pick it up at price of less than $20 per bottle
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Napa Valley Farms
Wine Subject: 2006 Napa Valley Viognier
Winemaker: Todd White
Backgrounder: A very shy grape that is difficult to grow, Viognier was once an endangered species worldwide. Today, skillful growers and winemakers tend the grapes with great care, closely monitoring their progress and picking at the pinnacle of ripeness. Viognier, when perfectly produced, is a delightful wine that is the perfect alternative to more mainstream white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. For today’s wine we sent Agent White to Napa Valley Farms, where he discovers their stellar Viognier. Read Agent White’s tasting notes and mission report below to learn why you will love this wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Glittering gold to pale straw in color with a tight surface that settles quickly when vigorously swirled. Give the wine a swirl and it will leave behind thick and closely-spaced legs that take a while to emerge before the move slowly down the glass
Smell – Beautifully aromatic with deep acacia, green apple, honeysuckle, apricot, pineapple, guava, subtle fruit-loops, a hint of citrus and freshly-cut sweetgrass
Feel – Cool, round and very soft up-front, round and creamy across the top of the tongue and then slightly mouth-coating, with a gentle tannic bite and slight tingle at the end
Taste – Delicious layers of tropical fruits, citrus, soft Bartlett pear, mild oak and vanilla with mildest cream
Finish -High and bright with a big tropical fruity sweetness that’s followed quickly by a slight tart dryness as the flavors linger on and on
Conclusion – Score one for Napa Valley Farms with this delicious and delightful Viognier! Todd white shows off his talent for making whimsical wines that are as fun to share with friends and loved ones as they are to drink. At our special price today, this is a wine to stock up on. What a delicious wine this is! Something of a surprise considering its lower price. I tasted this wine chilled and freshly opened. On opening, the wine is bright and crisp and delicious. On tasting the wine again later at room temperature, I found that the wine mellowed, showing more smoothness and softer flavors. White wines are great cold, but I always encourage experimentation with regard to temp, stemware and time in the air.
Summertime is hanging on for dear life in some parts of the country. In other parts, it’s still plenty hot. With the warm weather here, today’s solidly built and perfectly delicious Viognier is the perfect afternoon refresher. With the holidays approaching, don’t forget that Viognier is a flexible wine to be served with most of your holiday entertaining. Hot weather or cold, delight your guests by serving something other than boring Chardonnay.
When I’m not crunching hard data in our Beverly Hills safehouse, I either scouting Malibu, Temecula and Santa Barbara from the air in the company Cessna, our little spy plane.
On this day, however, I was up in Napa and Sonoma counties, and slightly out of my element. I had come up for a short conference with Agent Red, to discuss matters of wine sleuthing and winery intelligence gathering. As agents on The Wine Spies, we’re fairly autonomous, but like any good agency, we work best as a team.
Since I don’t get to do much direct field work, Red had arranged secret meet with one of his newest assets, a man he called, ‘Hutch’. I was to meet Hutch at The Flying Goat, in downtown Healdsburg and from there go to Napa. Hutch was an industry guy with deep connections and a nose for stellar wines.
I sat sipping a Breve Latte, which Agent Red had ordered for me before leaving me. Not my drink of choice, but not bad, either. I was reading a back issue of Wine & Vines, an industry trade rag, when a man approached.
“Pardon me,” he said quietly. “Are you agent White?”
“Can you tell me your real name?”
I answered with a question: “Can you tell me yours?”
“When goats fly!” he answered.
Satisfied with the passphrase, I stood quickly, gave the man a stern look – and shot out my hand to shake his. We both smiled and sat down.
Hutch briefed me on his latest find, an apparent gem of a Viognier from Napa Valley Farms, in St. Helena, at the northern end of the Napa Valley. Hutch had managed to secure a quantity of the wine for our Operatives, and he assured me that I would love it. Before we parted, Hutch handed me a slip of paper with a series of numbers on it. I recognized these to be map coordinates, certainly for a dead drop, where I would find samples of the wine.
I thanked him and was out the door. Less than 30 minutes later, I located the drop. Hidden in a hedge row, along a country road, was a cleverly camouflaged basket. Inside were two perfectly chilled bottle Napa Valley Farms’ 2006 Viognier – and a sandwich! Agent Red must have briefed Hutch on my constant appetite.
I returned to our Sonoma County safe house, popped a bottle and dug in. The wine was very impressive. It was fresh, flavorful and delightful. The perfect compliment to the hot day. Read my complete tasting notes above and then order some of today’s delicious wine. Delicious sandwich not included!
Wine Spies Rendezvous Recon Photo:
The location of the Flying Goat Coffee shop in Healdsburg, California, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This beautiful French Rhone Varietal is pretty rare in the Napa Valley. A nose of apricot, white peaches, melon and a crisp acid that balances the tropical finish of Banana, Pineapple and macadamia nut, an extraordinary fun white wine by any standard and an ideal food wine. Crisp and clean, it makes for a beautiful summer wine.
Grown on a beautiful rolling vineyard next in cooler Pope Valley. Minimal handling, hand harvested in 28 lbs baskets, hand sorted and whole cluster pressed. Elevation 725 ft. All Stainless. Case Production 925.
About The Winery:
Founded in 2001 by Proprietor Todd White. Todd’s been a serial entrepreneur and self employed since 17. Born in Charleston SC, grew up in North Carolina, where his family had made Moonshine in the Blue Ridge Mountains for two generations. Began his business career in Atlanta and has founded and sold 6 companies. After a 20 year obsession with wine, bought a home in St. Helena in 2000 and began the journey to making wine. First vintage was 2003, about 200 cases. The 2004 vintage was about 200 cases. The 2005 vintage we significantly increased production to 2800 cases and 7 wines. You can see all the wines at www.napavalleyfarms.com.
About The Winemaker:
Mario Monticelli – Mario is a third generation Italian winemaker who lives on Main Street in Napa. He has been all over the Valley. Currently he is the head winemaker for the new Trichero Family Estate north of St. Helena. Formerly he was the winemaker for Carl Doumani at Quixote in Stags Leap. He also has a number of other notable including ESCA who he makes with his wife Anna who is the winemaker at PINA, she was formerly working with Philippe Melka at Bryant Family. Mario also makes a wine with his brother Massimo called Monticelli Bros.