Review: 2007 Virage Napa Valley
Virage aims to emulate — and they are very specific about this — the great Right Bank Bordeaux wines. With the inaugural 2007 release of this new winery’s juice — 71% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon — I’m not sure it has the Bordeaux character Virage is looking for, but it is a standout wine nonetheless.
Intense blueberry and dark chocolate notes are the highlight here, and the wine has a solid structure that makes the most of a notoriously tough grape. How Virage has done this with its first wine out of the gate I’m not entirely sure, but the results speak for themselves. The body is huge, and while the finish lacks a certain finesse, it nonetheless keeps calling you back for more.
A- / $45 / viragevineyards.wordpress.com
With nearly three-quarters of this blend being Cab. Franc I can imagine it falls short of the Bordeaux tradition. That is an unusually high proportion of that particular varietal in a blend if this is any attempt to emulate more traditional bordeaux blends.
The blend is actually fairly close to some of the great Right Bank wines. Ausone, Lafleur, and Cheval-Blanc all use very high (50%+) proportions of Cab Franc, and so they would seem to be the likely models for this wine. I’m curious as to how well this will age, since very long lived wines is one of the other characteristics of the best Right Bank chateaux.
J.G. and Chris – Have you tried the wine? Don’t let the reasonable price deter you…. As a former assistant to a Culinary Institute of America wine educator, I love to spread the word, what Chris puts so well–in Bordeaux, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is not always the lead–great blends reflect their terroir and in some places, such as St. Emilion on the “Right Bank,” the Cabernet Franc beautifully plays that role. Evidence of age-ability is pretty clear at this point as the evolution in the decanter and in the bottle has been quite the adventure. I’m keeping a very deep cellar of library wines but don’t wait too long…