Bacio Divino Cellars
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
We are proud to bring you another stellar wine with a stellar QPR today. If you are seeking out a great wine at a great price, do not miss out on today’s selection, dear Operative, for this wine will impress and amaze you and your guests
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Mission Codename: A beautiful mind
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate world-famous Bacio Divino winery – and return with their equally famous red wine blend, Pazzo
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bacio Divino
Wine Subject: 2006 Pazzo
Winemakers: Nils and Kirk Venge
Backgrounder: Bacio Divino Cellars, in St. Helena, California, describes themselves as making “… wine of unmistakable co-authorship: terroir by Napa Valley, style by cloudy-headed winemaker.” This statement alone would have compelled The Wine Spies to investigate the winery, but with intel flooding in from our Operatives and Assets in the field, we knew that we had to place them under close surveillance. After a period of undercover investigation, Agent Red managed to get inside the winery – and procure today’s wonderfully delicious 200 Pazzo Red Blend. Read his tasting notes and mission report below.
Today’s wine, grown in the foggy hills of St. Helena, in the Napa Valley, is a wonderful blend of
(mostly) Sangiovese, with Petit Sirah, Cabernet and a hint of Viognier. This wine holds an exceptional QPR and actually blows us away with its quality, given its relatively low price.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Rich ruby red to garnet, concentrated color and a heavy-looking surface that settles fast when swirled, leaving behind thin legs that move down the glass at varying speeds
Smell – Fresh blueberry leads off with mocha, a hint of tomato vine, smoked meats and darkest cherry – with wisps of violet and thyme
Feel – Very lush and round, up front, warm on the mid-palate but not from high alcohol. The wine is full-bodied and mouth-coating as lush and medium tannins appear at the mid-palate
Taste – Dusky and delicious fruits of cherry, dark mixed berry, mild oak, soft tar, dark chocolate dust and the slightest hint of orange peel
Finish – A long and lingering sweet then slightly tart finish with traditional Sangiovese notes that tail off slowly
Conclusion – This is a juicy and delicious wine that makes me recall the best blends from Italy and California. This wine has a richness that gives the wine great character, and a mouth-feel that makes it a pleasure to drink. Overall this is a seductive, lush, full bodied and savory wine that offers bold fruit and great depth – all with firm structure. Friendly to most food-pairings, I would recommend this fantastic wine as the perfect compliment to your entertaining and on-its-own imbibing!
Guest Reviewer Alert!
Today, we welcome back Agent Noir from grapelive.com. What follows are his thoughts on today’s wine:
“This juicy and thick red has mixed berries and espresso with hints of blueberries and vanilla cream. This bright-fruited wine has nice layers of flavors and lush textures. Overall this is a full bodied and savory wine that offers bold fruit and good depth in a firm structure.” – Agent Noir
“Hey, why is that bottle in a brown paper bag?”
“Ahh. Agent White, I’m glad that you’re here! Don’t open the bag, and don’t try to look at the bottle!”
Agent White: Ok. What gives? Or should I even ask.
Agent Red: Better that you don’t
Agent White: You know what, Red? You’ve always been a little kooky, but I’ll play along.
Agent Red: Good. Here, taste this wine and tell me what you think.
Agent White: Ok.
Agent White inhales deeply and then takes a sip
Agent Red: Well?
Agent White: Really good! Delicious, in fact.
Agent Red: Good. Good. Now, tell me, have you ever seen a bottle of Bacio Divino’s Pazzo before?
Agent White: I have tried the big brother to the Pazzo, the self-titled Bacio Divino. An exquisite wine, to be sure, but never the Pazzo.
Agent Red: Ok. Thanks. So, you like this wine?
Agent White: Actually, I love it! Its really quite fine.
Agent Red: You’re sure you’ve never seen a bottle before?
Agent White: Jeez, Red, you seem almost manic. What’s up?
Agent Red: Well, I tasted this wine the other day, and then Agent Noir stopped by. I loved it instantly when I tried it. When I poured Agent Noir a glass, I saw how he stared at the bottle’s label. He had a far away look in his eyes. It almost seemed that he was mesmerized by the label. Then he sipped it – and he loved it, too!
Agent White: Aaaand?
Agent Red: Then Agent Sparkle really loved it!
Agent White: Aaaaaaaaaand?
Agent Red: Well, she got that same look and, well, I developed a theory that the swirly pattern on the label must be hypnotizing us into loving the wine!
Agent White: I think you need a vacation red.
Agent Red: I’ll pretend you didn’t say that.
Agent White: Honestly, Red, I worry about you sometimes. Let me see that label.
Agent Red: First, take another sip and tell me what you think of the wine.
Agent White: I love it. Its really great.
Agent Red: Now, check out this crazy label.
Agent White gazes at the label. His jaw slackens and his eyes appear slightly crossed
Agent Red: Well?
In a robotic monotone, Agent White replies
Agent White: This… is… the.. best… wine… in… the… world…
Agent Red gasps
Agent Red: I told you! It hyptonized you, just like I thought it would!
Agent White bursts out laughing
Agent White: Seriously, Red…
Agent White continues to laugh
What the Winery Says
Pazzo — Call me crazy…
Press Highlights From Past Vintages:
Excerpts from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2005 Pazzo is a gorgeously hedonistic, favorful blend.” (91 points, Dec. 2007)
“2004 Pazzo is supple-textured, seductive and ripe, with decent acidity as well as loads of fruit and character, it admirably demonstrates what can be achieved by smart blending.” (90 points, Dec. 2006)
Robert Draper, Wine Writer, GQ Magazine — “This may be Claus Janzen’s most inspired wine yet—certainly his most generous. Congenial without being cloying, proof that an approachable, eminently food-friendly wine doesn’t have to be banal, this is one damned smart uvaggio (primarily sangiovese supplemented by cabernet and zinfandel), all the more so for its honest aims. The only thing crazy about Pazzo is that it’s made in the New World rather than the Old, to which this lovely wine is a ftting homage.”
About This Wine:
The immediate and consistent popularity of Bacio Divino led me to believe that wine consumers were indeed ready for new blends. Working primarily with Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, in inverse proportions to those of Bacio Divino, and small additions of other varietals such as Zinfandel, Merlot, and Viognier, we created Pazzo. Pazzo (which means ‘crazy’ in Italian) is a ‘funky’, unpretentious blend – an ingratiating wine that is wonderful to drink in its youth. In addition to its good looks, it displays a nose of red berry aromas and follows through with spirited, sweet, lingering, fruit flavors. We have enjoyed incredible success and growth with this unique blend.
The blending of several varietals to achieve something beyond the reach of any one grape is our aspiration at Bacio Divino Cellars and Pazzo is one example of our endeavors. Although the Sangiovese varietal predominates, the addition of Cabernet heightens the structure and favor of this blend. Sangiovese fruit usually exhibits abundant cherry favors in the nose and palate, and Pazzo is full of this fresh fruit. Matured in various French and Hungarian oak barrels, the combination of wood spice and fresh fruit make for a wonderful drink.
About The Winery:
We live where we work, on the sunny and vine-dappled peaks of Napa Valley, overlooking the town of St. Helena. Possessed of naked idealism and fierce, if cloudy, ambitions, we undertook in 1993 to etch out our own signature wine. We envisioned something that, like Sir Lawrence Olivier or Kate Hepburn, could make an impression both immediate and lasting. A wine of unmistakable co-authorship: terroir by Napa Valley, style by cloudy-headed winemaker. And, (because we’re really not all that self-serious) a wine with a twinkle in its eye, promising equal parts mystery and mischief. And so we came up with two wines, each a proprietary blend. First and foremost, Bacio Divino, a divine kiss of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, with the added dimensions of Sangiovese and Petite Sirah. And then, in 1999, Bacio Divino’s vivacious kid sister Pazzo: Sangiovese-centric with undercurrents of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel (on occasion), Merlot and (can you believe) Viognier.
Claus and Diane Janzen
Working winter seasons at an upscale hotel/restaurant in Switzerland’s Berner Oberland set young Claus on a collision course with fine wines from which he never recovered. After transplanting his family from Winnipeg, Canada to Napa, he spent 12 years at Caymus, developing for that winery the most enviable international marketing operation in the Napa Valley. But Claus had viniculture ambitions of his own. A chance acquisition of some practically-discarded Sangiovese grapes in 1993 led to the first vintage of Bacio Divino.
An accomplished photographer and music freak, Claus remains, well after the Bud Grant years, a wretched devotee of the Minnesota Vikings.
By hosting elaborate wine dinners in Winnipeg, Diane fueled her husband’s enophilia. For her sins, she is now the estate’s manager of sales and consumer relations. And as editrix of the winery’s propaganda, she seeks to keep a tight leash on Claus’s verbal meanderings.
Varietal Content: A large proportion of Sangiovese, a little Petit Sirah, some Cabernet and a splash of Viognier.
Barrel regime: 21 months, new and one year old French and Hungarian oak barrels.
Vineyard Sources: All grapes are from Napa Valley vineyards.
Winemaker: Claus Janzen
Consulting Winemaker and Viticulturist: Nils and Kirk Venge