2005 Bianco Riserva
White Blend • Estate Grown
California: Napa Valley
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Vare Vineyards.
LIMITED EXCLUSIVE WINE ALERT!: Once again, we are pleased to be the exclusive source for a wine! The winery will release this wine later this week and we were fortunate enough to procure a small quantity for our Operatives. Grab some – before its gone
UNIQUE AND SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!: Today’s wine is great – and its made primarily from the only domestically grown Ribolla Gialla. Please also see our product note below.
FREE GROUND SHIPPING ALERT!: Get Free Ground Shipping on todays wine when you buy 6 or more bottles, using Promotional Code: NAPASPY
GUEST REVIEWER ALERT!: Today we welcome another guest wine reviewer, Codename: Agent Pod. You may know his wine reviews, his website and his famous podcasts, but we won’t blow his cover. Read below for his review – and some clues to his identity
Mission Codename: 13th Century Thunder
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Investigate reports that a huge white in a small bottle is taking the wine world by storm
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Vare Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Bianco Riserva
Winemaker: Robbie Meyer
Backgrounder: One of the components of this wine, Ribolla Gialla, dates back to the 13th century Slovenia and Friuli, an area in northern most Italy with its own unique identity and culture. The wine that was made from this grape was one of the most popular – for centuries. Also present in this wine are Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, each of which round out this big, delicious and very interesting wine
Guest Reviewer Report:
Today we welcome Agent Pod, our latest guest reviewer and honorary Wine Spy for a Day!
Agent Pod, a respected blogger, winemaker, wine technologist, wine writer and all around great guy, has the full respect of us full-time Wine Spies and today we thank him for his contribution:
A blend of Ribolla Gialla, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grown in Napa Valley, Vare Bianco Riserva is unique in several ways. First, this is the only winery with plantings of Ribolla Gialla in the US, a variety from Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia region where it’s blended with Tocai Friulano. The wine spends an extra few months in once used French Oak barrels than it’s sibling Bianco which produces a more complex wine both aromatically and in it’s flavor profile. An finally, this is one of the few wines packaged in 500 ml bottles as requested by Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant. This results in one of the best Cal-Ital white blends I’ve tasted to date.
The straw color of Vare Bianco Riserva is a result of barrel fermentation and aging but the aromas are not overpowered by the influence of wood. This wine has a very pleasing bouquet of citrus, tropical fruit, walnut and a hint of clove. Complex but refreshing grapefruit and pineapple fruit flavors finishing with nice acidity and a creamy, lees element. An excellent food wine and would make a great starter to an Italian meal but with only 20 cases produced, you better act now.
Synthetic cork closure
Agent Pod Score: 90
To become a regular visitor to Agent Pod’s website, click here.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile, Agent White reporting:
Look – Straw to golden hues and bright glinting highlights are the first thing that strike you about this wine. Its tight surface settles very quickly on swirling, leaving thick legs that cluster in bunches and move slowly down the glass
Smell – Brightly crisp notes with apple, yellow grapefruit, with flinty almond, and limestone
Feel – Crisp and bright at the front of the mouth, then round and velvety at the mid palate with soft-then-crisp tannins that sneak up on you and bite into the edges of the tongue and the lips
Taste – Brightly balanced sweet and tart with flavors of citrus, granny smith apple, mineral and almond, mirroring almost exactly the aroma profile of this wine
Finish – Crisp and lingering with long-lasting flavors that eventually taper off, leaving a light freshness behind
Conclusion – This is a really remarkable wine that refreshes and cleanses the palate, making it the perfect food companion, a perfect post-meal refresher that can cut through harsh flavors that some foods can leave behind, or as a delicious stand alone afternoon refreshment. This wine is bright, beautiful, complex and deeply original. With a unique mouth-feel, layers of delicious and crisp flavors and great aromatics, this wine is a beauty.
Agent White’s Deep Backgrounder:
George & Elsa Vare fell in love with the white wines of Friuli, Italy and Slovenia as a result of numerous trips made to the Collio region on behalf of Luna Vineyards which George founded.
The long tradition of wines grown to accompany the wonderful, delicious foods of Friuli is an inspiration for wine lovers everywhere.
Growing these wines successfully in the Napa Valley requires meticulous attention to detail. The approach to winemaking is best expressed as “the wine is made in the vineyard; we go to great lengths in the winery not to mess it up!”
Planted in the Vare’s vineyard are Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla (the only known planting in the United States), Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai Friulano, and Pinot Blanc. Pinot Grigio and Ribolla Gialla are harvested as varietal wines on their own and blended with the other three grapes to make the Bianco.
In the vineyard, they follow the advice of their winemaker friends (see Heroes) in Collio – long hang time to maximize fruit character and careful control of vineyard grape yields to enhance the varietal character and intensity of flavors in the grape.
The grapes are gently pressed in the vineyard in a bladder press immediately after picking. Only free-run and light press juice are used for the wine. The target yield is 135 gallons per ton of grapes against the industry norm of 165+ gallons. The juice is allowed to settle overnight in small stainless steel tanks and then moved to French oak barrels for a long, slow fermentation using only natural yeasts. In general, minimal processing is the by-word.
The wines do not go through malolactic fermentation, and any filtering is to prevent such fermentation from taking place in the bottle. The resulting wines are delightful, tasty and different from almost anything else produced in California. Most of the wines are bottled in late spring following harvest and allowed to age up to six months in the bottle before being released.
George & Elsa are committed to wines that are unique and different – pushing the edge of vineyard techniques, grape handling and processing, and small lot blending. Order today and discover Vare for yourself!
What the winery says
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About This Wine:
A sophisticated, complex, and rich blend of Ribolla Gialla, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
The wine is full bodied with good acid balance and medium tannins. A floral nose, tropical mango, star anise, stone fruit undertones with a long finish.
All wines were slowly fermented in once-used French oak barrels. The wine was aged for 20 months and bottled in September 2007 for early Spring 2008 release.
Serve lightly chilled as an aperitif, with appetizers, or with medium bodied main dishes.
About The Winery:
Vare Vineyards is a small, focused project of George and Elsa Vare making hand-crafted Italian-style white wines from the vineyards around their house in the Napa Valley, California. These wines are fashioned after special wines made by their winemaking friends in Collio (Friuli, Italy and Slovenia). The Vares are constantly experimenting with different cultural practices in the vineyards, differing harvest criteria and a variety of grape processing concepts. All wines are made using the grape’s own natural yeasts with minimal processing. Malo-lactic fermentation is discouraged for these young, fresh, intense wines. The results are delightful, tasty and different from almost any other wines produced in California. The Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla and Bianco are made primarily to go with food but stand up well on their own. The total production is about 500 cases.
About The Ribolla Gialla Varietal:
The grape, grown primarily in the Collio region of Friuli and Slovenia, dates back to the 13th century. Vare Vineyards has the first and only planting of this varietal in the U.S.
40% Ribolla Gialla
25% Pinot Grigio
22% Tocai Friulano
10% Sauvignon Blanc
Alcohol: 14.5% alcohol
Production: 20 cases of 500 ml bottles and 6 cases of 1.5 liter bottles were made.
All estate grown and produced.
This wine is bottled in a 500 ML bottle which is smaller than the normal 750 ML wine bottle. Please contact us if you have any questions.