The Vice is a new wine brand that focuses on Napa Valley — almost all of it, bottling wines representing (at least) 16 different varietals from 14 of Napa’s 16 AVAs, including some truly odd, even unique offerings.
We received a smattering of current releases for review, five in total. Thoughts follow.
2020 The Vice “Brooklynites 2.0” Orange of Gewurztraminer – A blend of Carneros and Napa Valley gewurztraminer, unusually made in the orange style. It’s a weird and unexpected style of wine, highly perfumed on the nose, its florals and fragrance dialed back on the palate, thanks to ample skin contact. The wine takes a slightly bitter turn with time in glass, though the floral aromas are never far off, notes of lilac sparring with some tougher, nutty, and sometimes leathery elements that emerge on the finish. Smells great, but the palate doesn’t feel fully cooked. B / $28
2019 The Vice Pinot Noir Rose Napa Valley – This otherwise straightforward rose is surprisingly mild, both floral and fruit elements kept in check throughout. A pale shade of orange-pink, the wine’s gentle sweetness is balanced, well enough, by a very light herbaceous character and a hint of lemon peel. Extremely mild and quiet — downright harmless. B / $22
2019 The Vice Pinot Noir “The House” Napa Valley – Vibrant cherry and cola notes give this pinot a classic structure, slightly gritty at times with notes of tarry asphalt and a grind of peppery. There’s spice here, tempering the finish with a hint of nutmeg and, eventually, cocoa powder and ground coffee notes. It definitely opens up and improves further with air time, and pairs well with spicier fare. A- / $29
2019 The Vice Cabernet Sauvignon “The House” Napa Valley – Another “House,” this one a cab. Rich and plump with fruit, the wine pours on lightly sweet notes of currants and black raspberry, dark chocolate, and a pinch of baking spices — and then it pretty much stops. There’s not a lot of nuance in this wine, nor much tannin to temper its effusive fruit notes. A hint of charred oak on the finish at least offers something in the way of a diversion. B+ / $29
2019 The Vice Saint Laurent “Majorelle” Napa Valley – St. Laurent is believed to be a cross of pinot noir and another, unknown grape. It’s primarily seen in eastern and central Europe, but this expression of the grape comes from Napa Valley. Here the wine presents itself as a fairly aggressive, savory offering, reminiscent of syrah with a meaty underbelly and notes of licorice. Some brighter black berry fruit emerges in time, doing battle with notes of anise, some flamed orange peel, and a bit of chocolate on the back end. Slightly scattered, but worthwhile, particularly as a meal pairing. B+ / $34