2020 Brown Ranch Chardonnay, Los Carneros, Napa Valley

Napa Valley

In 2012 the Renteria’s purchased the 30 acre Brown Ranch (formerly associated with Saintsbury Winery and formerly a cattle grazing ranch taking its name from the former owner, Nadine Brown). The vineyard is bordered by HdV’s Hyde Vineyard and Beaulieu’s Vineyard No.9 on Old Sonoma Road.

Twenty nine acres of vines (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) were already planted but most of these vines were afflicted with a fungi disease, Eutypa (otherwise known as the Dead-arm
Dieback) causing trunks or arms of the vines to essentially rot and die. Rather than pulling all of these vines out, their vineyard management team decided to keep the rootstock, cut off the trunk just above the soil and allow a bud from the varietal to grow, training it into a new trunk and then trellising it when it became of size. The Brown Ranch’s hillside alluvial soils, with Dijon Clone 76 set atop pre-existing rootstock, make a Chardonnay that is worthy of producing under the Venge name.

This wine is stylish and freshly balanced, featuring a light, pale straw presence in the glass with a bouquet of fresh orange citrus, toasted pine nuts, mild allspice, rocky flints, and toasted oak. Crisp, savory pineapple, sweet delicious apple, savory stone fruit, and ripe pear lead into mouthwatering deliciousness.

In The Vineyard

The Dijon Clones are modern strains of Chardonnay carefully isolated from grapevine nursery blocks in France. These strains are selected for their incredible ability to produce the best of what the varietal has to offer and therefore have become quite popular with cool climate  growers today. The cool and often foggy climate of the Brown Ranch Vineyard, located in  central Carneros, Napa, allows for a slow growing season and optimal ripening. This climate aids in the balancing of acidity and lifting tropical aromas in the fruit and thus, in the finished wine. The vines were carefully hand harvested and delivered cool to the winery.

In the Cellar

Once to the winery and weighted in, the grapes are traditionally whole cluster pressed and  allowed to cold settle prior to filling once used French Oak barrels. We try to prescribe to a Burgundian practice of winemaking. We here at Venge are light handed on the usage of new French Oak keeping it to an average of 45% in our Chardonnay. Batonage, or the gentle  stirring of the lees, is employed in the early stages of ageing to further develop refined richness and length of body to the mid-palate, while keeping the wine clean and fresh. The wine was surlies aged for 15 months. 65% native malolactic fermentation was allowed to build  complexity and body, without compromising the structural integrity of the wine.

Wine Technicals & Releases

  • Location:Napa Valley
  • Varietal Description :100% Chardonnay
  • Cases Produced :395
  • Oak Type:One used French oak barrels
  • Barrel Aging :Sur lies aged for 15 months. 65% native malolactic fermentation
  • Wine Status:Current Release
  • Next Release:Spring 2021
  • Release Price :FMV