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2012 Virage Bordeaux Blend
Single Bottle Price
Case of 12 (10% discount)
PDF Fact Sheet
Maybe the best Virage blend yet... Intense aromas of mocha, cedar and cassis pull you into a core of melting pomegranate molasses. Succulent, intoxicating bitters and mouthwatering minerality, the wine's acidity gives a sense of motion--flavors playing across your palate like a movie. A time-release finish that truly does not quit. This wine captures your attention. Built to drink immediately on release--blended in early 2014, aged a total of 26 months in barrel, then a year of bottle age. Truly pop and pour, no waiting/decanting required. Did I mention the endless finish? I'm so in love with this wine.
14.4% alcohol, ripe without fat. Only 322 cases of 2012 Virage was bottled, less than half of the wine available for blending; we truly shot for the moon here.
VARIETALS: Cabernet Franc & Merlot
VINEYARDS: Beau Terroir Vineyards, Carneros and Soda Cyn Vineyards, Atlas Peak
HARVESTED: September 2012
RELEASED: January 2016
pH: 3.61, TA: 6.4, Alc: 14.4%
COOPERAGE; 100% French Oak, 40% New
PRODUCTION: 322 cases
Haven't made a pretty fact sheet... (yet!)
Some thoughts on the vintage: it was a monster!
The Carneros Merlot was so good, so chocolatey rich and deeply structured that we bottled one barrel of it alone, released last year as 2012 Barrel Select - a 94 Wine Enthusiast! The other eight barrels are plushing out this blend. That site is enjoys a nice east-facing slope, on Forward soils, avoiding the stronger afternoon sun that ripens fruit too fast in so many places in Napa Valley.
Our vineyard source at the top of Atlas Peak, a beautiful north/east facing slope (looking out over Stagecoach Vineyards) produced nine (9!) tons. These blocks, then owned by the partners in Astrale y Terra (now sold!), struggled to ripen only 1-3 tons in prior years. The big crop was a good thing - the robust nature of the vintage. In prior vintages, wines from these blocks showed smooth, lilty raspberry flavors, with a light body almost like a beaujolais. In those small quantities, it added a suppleness to the blends--though costly, as this is our most expensive contract! Our experience (in 2010 and 2011) is what we imagine motivated Duckhorn to give up the contract before us... beautiful Aiken soils and well-farmed vineyard, the mountaintop location with that aspect doesn't translate to consistent ripening for Cabernet Franc. Luckily we had a rosé program as well. Approximately one ton of the crazy huge haul was used in the 2012 Rosé.
But in this vineyard, when it works... wow, it really works. The 2012 wine was packed with dense brambly wild blackberry pie flavors, laced with minerality. It was quite an escapade at harvest; we literally ran out of picking bins and returned to complete the harvest a second day, not to mention racing around the valley to find another winery to crush the fruit for us. Everyone was bursting at the seams from the big crop throughout Napa Valley. Terra Valentine on Spring Mountain to the rescue! And a perfect fit in their tank with automatic punch-down feet. Like many wines of 2012, this cabernet franc also had serious grip, so we didn't use it all in the Virage blend. Holding to our values--to produce the best blend possible from the lots available--isn't easy when you use less than half of the wine in the cellar, but the blending session just spoke for itself.
First blended in July, integrated/aging in barrel for six months before bottling in December, then aged one year in bottle before release. It's ready to drink. Can't wait for your feedback. One customer calls it her 'little black dress' - take it out and instant elegance. If you email me, I'll tell you about the second label that scored the rest of that brambly berry-rich Franc - and some lipsmacking merlot as well-- it's a really tasty blend and quietly sold here and at a few retailers :)
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