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Venge Vineyards Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
  • RP90
  • RP100
  • WS96
  • JS93
  • RP95
  • WE91
  • JS90
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Winemaker Notes

Powerful, ripe, complex and memorable. These words speak loudly of this rich and bold wine born from a quintessential Napa Valley vintage. From the first moments in the glass, this deep red Cabernet Sauvignon absolutely comes to life. The nose is layered with fragrances of ripe black cherry, integrated oak vanillin and a light dusting of black pepper spice. With a bit of time to open up, subtle layers of French barrel roast and es-presso mingle the nuances. Fresh and ripe fruit flavors of cherries, plums and currants lead the charge on the early palate attack. Typical of a young Oakville Cabernet, the structure and makeup is youthful but gives way to the pure red stone fruit flavors that make up the true heart and soul of this wine.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
The Wine Advocate

The outstanding 1998 Venge Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (285 cases) is more accessible and up-front than this cuvee tends to be in Napa's greatest vintages. There is an overlay of vanilla and heavy, spicy oak in this restrained, feminine effort. Venge's hallmark gorgeously sweet cassis fruit, is more accessible, without the volume and power of top years.

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Venge Vineyards

Venge Vineyards

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Venge Vineyards, , California
Venge Vineyards
The Venge (ven-ghee) family has farmed vitis viniferra varieties in Napa Valley for nearly a half-century. It is a journey that began when Knud Venge migrated from Denmark to the United States in the early 1900’s. Knud's son, Per Venge, found his passion in the wine and spirits industry and started Vencom Imports, focusing on the importation of Western European fine wines and spirits. It was Per's son, Nils Venge, who left the family business in the 1960's with a vision to study viticulture at UC Davis and establish the family namesake as an icon within the winegrowing community.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

ENGVNGRES_1998 Item# 124012

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