2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SPECIAL OP ALERT!
In addition to today’s great 2005 Vergari Cabernet Sauvignon, we got our hands on the FINAL remaining bottles of David Vergari’s 2004 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a fantastic wine made by a David Vergari, former Winemaker for Phelps. With just 65 cases cases produced be sure to pick up an allocation of this delicious wine before it is gone forever.
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Mission Codename: Agent Elvis
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Vergari, secure their 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Vergari Wines
Wine Subject: 2005 Vergari Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: David Vergari
Backgrounder: Earlier this year, we feature a fantastic wine from Vergari, a winery that thrilled our Operatives so much that we got several requests for another great Vergari wine.
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon continues to dominate as the leader in California red wine. For good reason, too, as Napa produces some of the richest and most delicious examples on the planet. Today’s wine is a beautifully balanced delight that had us wishing for another bottle, mere moments after we polished off the first. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report for the full briefing
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with an inky core. The wine maintains deeply concentrated color out to it’s edges. When swirled, this wine shows a loosely bouncy surface. When it settles, it leaves behind chubby branching legs that flow slowly down the glass
Smell – Dark and rich, with huge dark layers of blackberry, blueberry, smoky black cherry, earthen plum, toasty oak and soft spice. These sit softly atop beautiful notes of cedar shavings, soft anise, vanilla custard and soft mineral notes
Feel – Light, lush and wet up front, then softly grippy and mouth-coating across the mid. Moments later, medium-grained tannins show up, drying the cheeks and lips as a bright flavors cascade around the mouth
Taste – Rich and delicious, with balanced bright and dark flavors. Bright cherry and plum lead the way, followed by dark mixed berries, vanilla tart, dark raspberry with softly toasted oak, spices, and soft anise
Finish – Begins with big, bright flavors that linger for a long interval before they begin to fade gradually, revealing a smoky minerality and dark fruit that tails off slowly, with a hint of cedar, soft oak and a wisp of licorice
Conclusion – This is another outstanding offering from our friend David Vergari – aka Agent Elvis. David’s experience shines through in this great Napa Cabernet, showing off his prowess as a superior winemaker. While working for Phelps, David made wines that cost more than twice the price of today’s wine. In today’s offering, you have the unique opportunity to take advantage of his experience with making some of the best Napa Cabs in the world. This is a delicious and delightful wine that is serious fun to drink. With all of the richness of a Classic Napa, this wine also has great balance and brightness , making it an easy pairing companion for most meals. We are so pleased to have met David Vergari, and even more pleased ot share his great wine with you today. Cheers!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: David Vergari, owner/winemaker of Vergari Wines
DATE OF BIRTH: Exact date is classified, but I was conceived during Orson Welles’ radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds”. You do the math!
PLACE OF BIRTH: Oak Ridge, TN
WINE EDUCATION: Are you kidding? You mean it’s possible to get a wine education? I have a mail-order degree from UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I wear boxers.
SIGNATURE VARIETALS: Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Seeing the Southern Cross while working at Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Meeting myself coming the other way
WINEMAKER QUOTE: I have several: “…it’s just wine, damnit!!!…”, “…Wine snobs are a pain in the arse…”, “…open the bottle, already!!!…”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Elvis. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Sangiacomo Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DAVID VERGARI: Hey, it’s my privilege.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DAVID: My family is Italian. I grew up with Dago Red. Need I say more?
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
DAVID: On the practical side: Working with Damian Parker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. It was cool to integrate the cellar experience with the theory I learned in school.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
DAVID: I missed that lecture. I’ve been winging it ever since. What seems to work for me is not getting in the way, using oak very judiciously and letting the vineyard express itself
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DAVID: With Cabernet Sauvignon, I’d like to give a tip of the hat to Randle Johnson and Tom Smith, whom I interned under at the Hess Collection back in the early-nineties. There’s also Damian Parker at Joseph Phelps, who continues to mentor me to this day. Finally, James Halliday introduced me to sooo many wines from his phenomenal cellar when I worked at Coldstream Hills. I took notes and learned.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
DAVID: I started making Zinfandel at home in 1981. Professionally, since the early-90s.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
DAVID: People who will appreciate the style of wine I’ve made… in other words, not everyone. I do not pander to critics and accept the fact that some of them will not “get” what I am trying to accomplish. No big deal. Be true to oneself and let the chips fall where they may. Oooh, that’s heavy, man!
RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special for Bordeaux varietals?
DAVID: I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but that’s impossible. The fact is, I’ve made wines with these grapes from a number of different AVAs and the ones from the Napa Valley rise to the top. Before anyone gets their drawers in a knot about this, relax, it’s just my opinion.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
DAVID: Give me a call. I’ll try to talk you out of it
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DAVID: I wear all the hats: production, sales, administration, grower relations, spiritual advisor, athletic director, blah, blah, blah. However, at the end of the day I am a wine-seller. Vintners who fail to embrace this axiom are screwed.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
DAVID: The grapes are grown in the Coombsville District, which lies due east of the City of Napa. I learned about the vineyard in ‘03 from Mark Herold who succeeded me as the Research Enologist at Phelps. Mark proceeded to absolutely blow up and become quite the rock-star with his Merus wines. Did I say “succeeded me”? Hah, it was more like he blew my doors off! I worked with Peter Nissen, the vineyard manager, and had quite a good time.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DAVID: Red meat, preferably grilled.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
DAVID: I swam across Lake Tahoe in a relay race. The water was rather cold.
RED:What is your favorite ’everyday’ or table wine?
DAVID: Whatever I am drinking at the time. Really. During the harvest my favorite white is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
DAVID: Mine? With extreme caution. Wine in general? Remove the cork or screwcap and just enjoy.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?DAVID: Jeepers-creepers, haven’t I bored you enough? Okay, here goes: “When did you feel comfortable inside your own skin as a winemaker?” Answer: Only recently. I make wine with my heart and guts. It’s scary and exhilarating. When something clicks, I am very grateful. And relieved.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep making your great wines. We became instant fans, the moment we tasted with you at [REDACTED].
DAVID: You guys are really cool cats. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for featuring my wine.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the vineyard where the grapes for today’s wine were born, can be seen in this satellite photo
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Josh Reynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s Wine Cellar – “Ruby-red. Deep cherry and candied plum aromas are complicated by smoky Indian spices, lavender and clove. Deep, palate-saturating dark fruit flavors are framed by dusty tannins and given a bitter edge by licorice and dark chocolate nuances. A serious style of cabernet that I’d resist opening for a few more years.”
About This Wine:
Grapes for this wine are from vineyards in the Coombsville District, east of the city of Napa. Its close proximity to the North Bay’s cooling influence makes for vibrant acidity and flavors. I learned a lot about Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grapes interning at the Hess Collection Winery, at Joseph Phelps Vineyards after graduating from UC Davis and making wine with them in Australia, Europe and Chile. I believe that the Napa Valley is one of the best places in the world to find great Cabernet.
The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep red color with a bouquet of blueberry pie, barrel spices, vanillin, and dark berry aromas. The entry is fruit-driven that opens into a silky-textured, yet well-structured mid-palate and follows with a lingering finish. This dark, brooding wine is age-worthy for years to come.
About The Winery:
Founded in 2003 by owner/winemaker David Vergari, Vergari Wines strives to produce Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards that are exclusively suited to those varietals. David shepards the wine from vine to bottle, ages them solely in French oak barrels and trusts that if he’s doing his job well, each wine will display its own “voice” – its own distinctive and unique character.
While studying Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis, David interned at Sonoma-Cutrer and The Hess Collection in Napa Valley, and worked abroad at Coldstream Hills in Australia and Covisa in Spain. Landing back in California, David worked his way up to Research Enologist at Joseph Phelps Vineyard before moving to Rutz Cellars in the Russian River Valley, where he not only became the winemaker, but honed his skills and appreciation for Pinot Noir. Then, after four years as Head Winemaker at Maddalena Vineyards, David decided to launch his own label, Vergari Wines. In his spare time, David acts as a consulting winemaker and teaches extension wine courses at UC Irvine.
David ascribes his life-long interest in wine at least in part to his Italian ancestry. His first memory of wine goes back to when he was five years old, in his great-uncle’s cellar in San Francisco tasting “Dago Red” – cut with water, of course! For a while in his twenties he worked as a financial analyst, but winemaking was in his blood, and inevitably he decided to change careers and follow his passion.
David makes his wines at Owl Ridge Wine Services in Sebastopol, California, formerly co-owned by friends and fellow winemakers Greg LaFollette and Greg Bjornstad. David became fast friends with the two Gregs while attending UC Davis and vowed that one day he would make wine at their facility. The third generation of his family from western Sonoma County, David divides his time between the winery and vineyards in Northern California and his home life with wife Katie Orth in Sierra Madre, Southern California.
David’s philosophy; “Give every lot of grapes the attention and careful handling it needs, let the wine find its voice while knowing when to stay out of the way, and always remember that wine is something to be enjoyed – like the company of an old friend.”