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Inspired by the great wines of Right Bank Bordeaux, Virage sources from cooler climate locations in Napa Valley, revealing the depth, complexity, and exquisitely rich structure and smooth texture of optimally ripened cabernet franc and merlot, blended in 'Right Bank' tradition.

Bordeaux Tradition
Many Napa Valley wines are produced from grape varieties originally brought from Bordeaux, a place where red wines are (nearly always) carefully-crafted blends of (up to) five closely-related varietals. At a Bordeaux estate, varietal plantings are driven by soils and climate to achieve optimal ripeness and character expression in the finished wines; the vigneron then blends the resulting wines for complementary balance each vintage (growing year).

Like Paris, Bordeaux is divided by the river running through it and the character is slightly different on each "bank." To the South, on the river's left bank, cabernet sauvignon generally dominates the blends. On the right bank, the northernmost chateaux produce blends rich in merlot and cabernet franc, both grown on the gravelly terraces and limestone plateau. Top right bank blends are highly regarded for their finesse, complexity and ageability. Celebrated properties include Chateau Cheval Blanc in St. Emilion (planted to cabernet franc and Merlot), and Petrus in Pomerol, a top Bordeaux wine produced solely from merlot.

Classic Style
We blend Virage in the 'Right Bank' tradition, sourcing cabernet franc and merlot grapes grown in northeastern Carneros at Beau Terroir and Hyde Vineyards. Tucked into the tail end of the Mayacamas range dividing Sonoma and Napa Valleys, this area is sheltered from the coldest ocean winds flowing on shore from the "Petaluma Gap." A protected pocket within the coolest growing region of Napa Valley, the area enjoys not only lower daytime temperatures compared to sister appellations upvalley, but also warmer nights from proximity to San Pablo Bay just minutes to the south. To our way of thinking, these sites provide unique conditions for harvesting at optimal ripeness, maintaining fresh acidity and brightness, and expressing fully ripe flavors at moderate sugar levels --and therefore often lower alcohol levels. A slow, gentle maturation creates complex, supple wines presenting layered flavors and generous aromatics of ripe cabernet franc, rounded by the dark chocolate richness of deeply-structured merlot. The primary site soil series, more commonly found at higher elevation on Mt. Veeder, fosters a lovely thread of minerality --a signature character of all Virage wines.

Napa Valley's exceptional geologic diversity offers an extraordinary place to practice the art of blending in Bordeaux tradition. With a staggering array of 33 different soil series in Napa Valley, winemakers are blessed with opportunity for unique expression of all five Bordeaux varietals. From our cooler corner, we hope Virage recalls the character of a fine blend from St. Emilion.