2005 Vergari Wine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Codename: Agent Elvis
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Vergari, secure their 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Vergari Wines
Wine Subject: 2005 Vergari Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: David Vergari
Backgrounder: Earlier this year, we feature a fantastic wine from Vergari, a winery that thrilled our Operatives so much that we got several requests for another great Vergari wine.
Napa Cabernet Sauvignon continues to dominate as the leader in California red wine. For good reason, too, as Napa produces some of the richest and most delicious examples on the planet. Today’s wine is a beautifully balanced delight that had us wishing for another bottle, mere moments after we polished off the first. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report for the full briefing
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet with an inky core. The wine maintains deeply concentrated color out to it’s edges. When swirled, this wine shows a loosely bouncy surface. When it settles, it leaves behind chubby branching legs that flow slowly down the glass
Smell – Dark and rich, with huge dark layers of blackberry, blueberry, smoky black cherry, earthen plum, toasty oak and soft spice. These sit softly atop beautiful notes of cedar shavings, soft anise, vanilla custard and soft mineral notes
Feel – Light, lush and wet up front, then softly grippy and mouth-coating across the mid. Moments later, medium-grained tannins show up, drying the cheeks and lips as a bright flavors cascade around the mouth
Taste – Rich and delicious, with balanced bright and dark flavors. Bright cherry and plum lead the way, followed by dark mixed berries, vanilla tart, dark raspberry with softly toasted oak, spices, and soft anise
Finish – Begins with big, bright flavors that linger for a long interval before they begin to fade gradually, revealing a smoky minerality and dark fruit that tails off slowly, with a hint of cedar, soft oak and a wisp of licorice
Conclusion – This is another outstanding offering from our friend David Vergari – aka Agent Elvis. David’s experience shines through in this great Napa Cabernet, showing off his prowess as a superior winemaker. While working for Phelps, David made wines that cost more than twice the price of today’s wine. In today’s offering, you have the unique opportunity to take advantage of his experience with making some of the best Napa Cabs in the world. This is a delicious and delightful wine that is serious fun to drink. With all of the richness of a Classic Napa, this wine also has great balance and brightness , making it an easy pairing companion for most meals. We are so pleased to have met David Vergari, and even more pleased ot share his great wine with you today. Cheers!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: David Vergari, owner/winemaker of Vergari Wines
DATE OF BIRTH: Exact date is classified, but I was conceived during Orson Welles’ radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds”. You do the math!
PLACE OF BIRTH: Oak Ridge, TN
WINE EDUCATION: Are you kidding? You mean it’s possible to get a wine education? I have a mail-order degree from UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I wear boxers.
SIGNATURE VARIETALS: Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Seeing the Southern Cross while working at Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Meeting myself coming the other way WINEMAKER QUOTE: I have several: ”…it’s just wine, damnit!!!…”, ”…Wine snobs are a pain in the arse…”, ”…open the bottle, already!!!…”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Elvis. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Sangiacomo Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DAVID VERGARI: Hey, it’s my privilege.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DAVID: My family is Italian. I grew up with Dago Red. Need I say more?
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
DAVID: On the practical side: Working with Damian Parker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. It was cool to integrate the cellar experience with the theory I learned in school.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
DAVID: I missed that lecture. I’ve been winging it ever since. What seems to work for me is not getting in the way, using oak very judiciously and letting the vineyard express itself
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DAVID: With Cabernet Sauvignon, I’d like to give a tip of the hat to Randle Johnson and Tom Smith, whom I interned under at the Hess Collection back in the early-nineties. There’s also Damian Parker at Joseph Phelps, who continues to mentor me to this day. Finally, James Halliday introduced me to sooo many wines from his phenomenal cellar when I worked at Coldstream Hills. I took notes and learned.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
DAVID: I started making Zinfandel at home in 1981. Professionally, since the early-90s.
RED: Who do you make wine for? DAVID: People who will appreciate the style of wine I’ve made… in other words, not everyone. I do not pander to critics and accept the fact that some of them will not “get” what I am trying to accomplish. No big deal. Be true to oneself and let the chips fall where they may. Oooh, that’s heavy, man! RED: Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special for Bordeaux varietals? DAVID: I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but that’s impossible. The fact is, I’ve made wines with these grapes from a number of different AVAs and the ones from the Napa Valley rise to the top. Before anyone gets their drawers in a knot about this, relax, it’s just my opinion.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
DAVID: Give me a call. I’ll try to talk you out of it
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DAVID: I wear all the hats: production, sales, administration, grower relations, spiritual advisor, athletic director, blah, blah, blah. However, at the end of the day I am a wine-seller. Vintners who fail to embrace this axiom are screwed.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today DAVID: The grapes are grown in the Coombsville District, which lies due east of the City of Napa. I learned about the vineyard in ‘03 from Mark Herold who succeeded me as the Research Enologist at Phelps. Mark proceeded to absolutely blow up and become quite the rock-star with his Merus wines. Did I say “succeeded me”? Hah, it was more like he blew my doors off! I worked with Peter Nissen, the vineyard manager, and had quite a good time. RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine? DAVID: Red meat, preferably grilled. RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know DAVID: I swam across Lake Tahoe in a relay race. The water was rather cold. RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
DAVID: Whatever I am drinking at the time. Really. During the harvest my favorite white is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
DAVID: Mine? With extreme caution. Wine in general? Remove the cork or screwcap and just enjoy.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
DAVID: Jeepers-creepers, haven’t I bored you enough? Okay, here goes: “When did you feel comfortable inside your own skin as a winemaker?” Answer: Only recently. I make wine with my heart and guts. It’s scary and exhilarating. When something clicks, I am very grateful. And relieved.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep making your great wines. We became instant fans, the moment we tasted with you at [REDACTED].
DAVID: You guys are really cool cats. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for featuring my wine.