Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Envy Wines

Envy Wines is north of Calistoga and was previously known as Calistoga Cellars until it changed hands in 2006.  It is now owned by Nils Venge, who also owns Saddleback Cellars, and Mark Carter, who owns Carter Cellars. (Carter Cellars wines may also be tasted at Envy Wines with special reservations.) Nils is the winemaker and is famous for having made the Groth Vineyards 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve that received 100 points from Robert Parker. The winery is named "Envy" after the initials of Nils Venge, "N. V." The estate consists of twelve acres out of which eleven are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Merlot.  Some grapes are sourced from other vineyards. Total production is less than 5,000 cases per year.    Reservations are required but may easily be made.  The tasting fee of $15 is waived with the purchase of two bottles of wine.

Envy Wines tasting bar

Our tasting began with the Envy Wines 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25). This is made from one-third estate grapes and two-thirds sourced grapes.  400 cases were produced. Light straw in color.  After a good nose of mostly lemon there was a crisp, but not tart, lemon and Japanese pear on the palate with some minerality.  It had a medium length but very pleasant finish of lemon and  vanilla.  A nice SB for the price.

Envy Wines tasting room

Envy's Bee Bee's blend has been produced yearly and is named after Nil's now deceased dog.  We tasted the Envy Wines 2010 Calistoga Estate Bee Bee's Blend ($41).  450 cases were produced. Light ruby in color, it is 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petite Sirah and has a nice aroma of red cherries with hints of cedar.  Although rather fruit forward on the palate, it was not jammy, and had red cherry, pepper and nicely integrated tannins followed by a lovely and long finish of cherry, spices and pepper.  This was a very appealing red blend that is quite drinkable now.  I liked it almost as much as the Cab and PS, and it is a rather unusual blend.  My friend liked it a lot.

Patio in front of tasting room

Envy Wines from entry way

Next up was the Envy Wines 2010 Calistoga Estate Cabernet Sauvignon at $48.  390 cases were produced.  This is 100% Cab.  An appealing bright purple in color, it had a very nice aroma of black cherry, smoke and vanilla.  Smooth on the palate, it was mostly black cherry with some vanilla.  The finish was quite long with cherry, lingering tannins and spice.  A very nice Cab, indeed, and, along with the Petite Sirah, my favorite of the wines we tasted.

Envy Wines cellar building


The Envy Wines 2010 Calistoga Estate Petite Sirah at $45 followed.  390 cases were produced.  Dark ruby in color, it had a great nose, mostly spice and pepper.  On the palate I got mostly blackberries, pepper and some cola with very nicely interlaced tannins.  Although this was a full bodied Petite Sirah, the varietal characteristics came through nicely.  The finish length was medium plus with mostly cola and blackberries.  Definitely a superior Petite Sirah, and, along with the Cab, my favorite of the wines we sampled.


Envy Wines from entry


The final taste was the Envy Wines 2009 Envy Late Harvest at $45 a half bottle.  This was 100% Semillon, with a flowery nose and a pleasant palate of mostly peach and apricot.  Although easy to drink, it seemed rather simple and did not appear to have the subtlety or complexity of a really good French Sauterne, but it will probably appeal to many persons who like soft, sweet white wines. 

Original art on display

We enjoyed our visit to Envy Wines and want to thank Phillip for being such a gracious and helpful host.  Envy Wines is located across for the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga  and is easy to locate.  We highly recommend visiting them but, if you are unable to do so, you should check out their wines, especially the Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bee Bee's Blend.



Envy Wines
1170 Tubbs Ln.
Calistoga, CA 94515
707-942-4677707-942-4677
Date of visit: April 3, 2013







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