||Inspired by the great wines of Right Bank Bordeaux, Virage sources from cooler climate Napa Valley, revealing the beautiful, layered nuance and supple texture of optimally ripened cabernet franc and merlot, blended for elegance and balance.
Bordeaux Blending Tradition
Many Napa Valley wines are produced from grape varieties first grown in Bordeaux, where all red wines are blends of (up to) five closely-related grape varieties. At a Bordeaux estate, different varieties are planted by soils and climate to support optimal character expression in the finished wines and then blended for perfect balance each vintage. The full Bordeaux region is divided by the river running through it; on the river’s ”left bank” to the south, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blends. On the ”right bank,” the northernmost chateaux favor merlot and cabernet franc. These memorable right bank wines are known 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, an example of a top Bordeaux from 100% merlot.
We blend in the Right Bank tradition, sourcing from cabernet franc and merlot grown in northeastern Carneros at Beau Terroir and Hyde Vineyards. In a uniquely protected, warmer pocket of the coolest growing region of Napa Valley, the cool-climate Bordeaux varieties enjoy not only lower daytime temperatures, but also warmer nights with proximity to the San Pablo Bay. These temperate slopes provide ideal conditions for harvesting at optimal phenolic ripeness while maintaining fresh acidity and brightness, while expressing fully ripe flavors--all at moderate alcohol levels. A slow, gentle maturation of aromatics, skins and seeds creates complex, supple wines presenting the layered flavors and generous aromatics of ripe cabernet franc, rounded out with richly-structured merlot. Our particular soils, more commonly found higher on Mt. Veeder, produce a lovely thread of minerality in all the Virage wines.
Napa Valley’s exceptional geologic diversity offers an extraordinary place to practice the art of blending in the Bordeaux tradition. With its 33 soil series (compared to four in all winemaking regions of France), Napa Valley winemakers are immersed in opportunity for unique expression of Bordeaux varietals. From our cooler corner, we hope Virage recalls the character of a fine blend from St. Emilion.|