Legendary Napa Winemaker Nils Venge
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Envy Wines - Estate Winery
Housed along charming Tubbs Lane in Calistoga, Envy Wines - Estate Winery is the product of a daring new partnership that combines the talents of legendary Napa Winemaker Nils Venge with those of Eureka-based hotelier-turned-wine-impresario Mark Carter.
Since Nils and Mark acquired the 17-acre winemaking facility in 2006, they have focused on their plans to grow Cabernet, Merlot, and Petite Sirah grapes on their 11.2 acres of vineyards.
"We're excited to be making wine here, particularly the Petite Sirah," Mark says. A handful of Envy's acres are planted to "Pet," as local growers call it. Nils and Mark consider the opulent varietal perfect for their sensibilities.
Nils became a stellar winemaking presence in Napa Valley in 1985, when his Groth Vineyards Cabernet Reserve was anointed with the highest accolade a winemaker can receive: 100 points from the nation's highest arbiter of wine criticism, Robert Parker. Nils launched his own Saddleback Cellars project and was the star attraction at the first winemakers dinner hosted at Carter House, an enclave of four magnificent Victorians perched alongside Humboldt Bay in Old Town Eureka. Mark constructed an amazing wine list for his restaurant and inn, and then talked Nils into helping him to launch his own label. Since 1998, Carter Cellars' limited releases have earned high marks and always sell out.
Already up and running, the pair are producing and selling only 1,500 cases of Envy's inaugural releases. Production will eventually climb to 5,000 cases, says Nils, who, in addition to his duties at Envy and Saddleback, consults for six other Napa wine properties.
Wine tourers who visit the tasting room on Tubbs Lane are quick to agree that there's more to be enjoyed than envied from this rising star.
What to buy:
'06; Envy Bee Bee's Blend Blueberry, chocolate, sweet maple sugar, cherry, blackberry, chocolate, coffee $70
'06; Envy Cabernet Sauvignon Black currant, cinnamon, anise, toasted walnuts, dark chocolate, black cherry, plum $55
'06; Envy Petite Sirah Blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, cola, soft tannins, vanilla, milk chocolate $45
707.942.4670; Fax: 707.942.4677
1170 Tubbs Lane
Tasting Room Open Daily 10-4:30
Take 29 north from San Francisco, then continue north on 128. Turn right on Tubbs Lane.Take 29 north from San Francisco, then continue north on 128. Turn right on Tubbs Lane.
Captions: 1. Fall 2008 marks Envy's second harvest. 2. Friends and family volunteer their services in May of 2008 for bottling of the 06' reds. 3. The winery houses a friendly tasting room and a view of Old Faithful geyser out back