- August 07 2014
With the undeniable resurgence in interest and production of Rosés this year, we decided to embark on a summer mission to find the most refreshing Rosés in the Napa Valley and beyond. In the final installment of this two-part blog (check out part one here), we, along with some special guests, share our thoughts on each wine. We promised you six wines, but we couldn't narrow it down, so you get nine! That's just how Verve rolls...
From the Verve team: T, Emma, Denae, Bill, and Rob.
A few special guests:
Julie Webster, Hospitality Manager, Azur Wines
Marilyn O'Connell, Wine Buyer, C Casa
Deirdre Bourdet, Chief Eating Officer, Hedonism Ink
Drew Neiman, Owner, Neiman Cellars
Karen and Dan Lynch, Owners, Inn on Randolph
Lili Shariati, Sales & Hospitality, Kelly Fleming Wines
Mike McDevitt, COO, HarperRand
Ashley Kassis, CEO & Founder, Kassis Consulting
Jen Giudice, Best friend of Ashley Kassis
-Fresh-picked nectarines, strawberries, and plums from the Verve HQ garden. Plus local cherries.
-Homemade meat dishes by Dierdre & Marilyn: Jambon Persillé, a regional specialty of Burgundy, is made of cured ham chunks and finely chopped fresh parsley and held together in an aspic made with white wine and aromatics like leeks or shallots, carrot, and celery. Fun fact: this dish is a personal favorite of winemaker Stéphane Vivier (Hyde de Villaine and Vivier Wines). A second dish was made of thinly sliced poached Fatted Calf pork with seasoned with ground fennel seeds, black pepper, and sea salt. Topped with Marilyn's homemade pickled radishes!
1.) Azur, 2013
Layers of strawberry, watermelon, and peach on the palate. Notes of white flower and honeysuckle. Versatile and light — would do with everything. Light pink in color with copper hues. Unanimously praised by all!
Additional Notes: 750 cases produced. Varietal: 100% Syrah. Appellation: 60% Napa, 40% Sierra Foothills. 13% alcohol. Fermented dry.
Quote: "I love it just as much as the first time I had it."-T
Price Point: $28
2.) Poe, 2013
Less fruit-forward than most, this reminds us of fresh young pear. Dry but elegant. Would be excellent for food pairings, and go especially well with seafood.
Additional Notes: Sonoma County grapes. Blend of Old Vine Pinot Noir 66% & Pinot Meunier 34%. 11.5% alcohol.
Quote: "It's like savory herbs."-Deirdre
Price Point: $22
3.) Miraval, 2013
Beautiful light pale pink color. Lovely floral nose with a delicate structure and vibrant finish. Soft aromas and complex flavors of raspberry and wild strawberry, wild herbs, citrus, and stone fruit.
Additional notes: Okay, so this one is not a CA wine…but come on, it's Brangelina! We were very curious about Miraval, as it is a joint venture between Provence-based Famille Perrin and Hollywood heavy-hitters, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. 13% alcohol.
Quote: "I have a hard time drinking this without thinking about Brad Pitt's smile…"-Mike
Price Point: $24
4.) Villa Ragazzi Rosato di Sangiovese, 2013
Spicy, red fruit characters, clean and bright finish. Quite a bit of oak on the palate with a buttered popcorn essence. Only 35 cases produced.
Additional Notes: 13.2% alcohol.
Quote: "Very aromatic."-Ashley
Price Point: $21
Lower in sugar and higher in acidity than many we tried. Interesting oak inclusion, and well-balanced. Just 61 cases were made — they're now sold out!
Additional Notes: 13% alcohol. Pinot Noir.
Quote: "An unusual oaked Rosé. Very nice."-Rob
Price Point: $20
6.) Kelly Fleming, 2013
Bursting with summery red fruit aromas of fresh-sliced watermelon and ripe strawberries. The palate is soft and juicy with core flavors of grapefruit and blood orange.
Additional Notes: 14.5% alcohol. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine received a few hours of skin contact, giving it a touch of structure to counter the lushness felt on the front of the palate.
Quote: "It's like a really big juicy hamburger wine."-Marilyn
Price Point: $36
7.) Heitz Cellars, 2013
Fruity, with notes of blackberry and citrus. Has the aroma of strawberries, and a beautiful salmon color. Grape jelly finish. Sheer perfection for a steamy summer day!
Additional Notes: 13% alcohol. This wine is very unique because the varietal is Grignolino — Heitz's Grignolino vineyard is the only one left in Napa!
Quote: "It's dry, yet has a refreshing fruity finish."-Emma
Price Point: $22
8.) Sullivan Pink Ink, 2013
Herbal and more complex in flavors than many Rosés. Peppery finish. Crowd pleaser, all-around.
Additional Notes: 80% Merlot, 20% Cab.
Quote: "This wine is intensely savory."-Julie
Price Point: $22
9.) Petroni Rosato di Sonoma, 2012
Vibrant and dark pink in color. Sweet with a generous, round palate. Red berries on the nose, and notes of rose blossom and vanilla.
Additional Notes: Estate grown organically. 14.5% alcohol. 50% Sangiovese, 25% Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Quote: "It's a beautiful wine."-Denae
Price Point: $14
And Finally, Some Dessert...
We were spoiled with delicious Napa Pops popsicles! With flavors like Cucumber Honeydew and Sauvignon Blanc, how can you go wrong?
Flavors: Cucumber Honeydew, Mojito, and Sauvignon Blanc
"The Mojito is well-balanced with enough spiciness to know there's pepper in there without it being overwhelming."-Karen
"This Sauvignon Blanc popsicle is the first I've had in 40 years! It's a grown-up popsicle."-Bill
"Nice consistency. VERY cucumber and very authentic in flavor!"-Rob
- July 12 2014
The Verve HQ summer garden has proven to be just as bountiful as our beautiful winter garden. With T's green thumb, the help of our multi-talented gardener, Francisco, and this unseasonably toasty Napa heat, we're in harvest mode already. The bees are buzzing, thriving, and doing their bee thing well. The sweet, juicy Santa Rosa plums and Blenheim apricots (candied sunshine in a jar) have been preserved and dehydrated. The Mariposas, Green Gage plums, and Pluots will be ready any day now. Tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers are all coming in fast and furious!
The figs are as early as we can remember, the raspberries are late, and the pomegranates and persimmons are stating to swell. Roses of all varieties are still in full force, and the first wave of gorgeous multi-colored dahlias have popped up. Here's a sneak peek into the everyday magic we're lucky enough to have in our office backyard!
- May 13 2014
To get this summer off to a winning start, we embarked on a mission to find the most refreshing Rosés in the Napa Valley. We came, we tasted, we conquered. In this two-part blog, the Verve team along with a few special guests highlight the wines we sampled along with some select tasting notes, quotes, and photos.
From the Verve team: T, Emma, Rose, and Ali. We also had the pleasure of including our favorite concierge at Hotel Yountville, Peter, and newest Verve chauffeur and Wine Country expert, Don.
1.) Lorenza Rosé, 2013
Gorgeous pale salmon in color, crisp mineral finish, hint of grapefruit on the nose.
Additional Notes: Use of Rhône varietals (a combination of Mourvedre, Carignane, Cinsult, and Grenache).
Quote: "Perfect for Bocce! No food required."—T
Price point: $20
2.) Gabrielle Collection Rosé D'ete, 2012
Cabernet based, vibrant and deep magenta in color, hints of raspberry and cassis, full-bodied.
Additional Notes: Only 70 cases made in 2012 (sold out), 2013 now available only to members due to small production.
Quote: "Complex minerality with hints of cassis, thyme, and lavender."—Don
Price point: $25
3.) Blackbird Vineyards, 2013
Inviting color, strawberry on the nose, excellent balance of acidity and fruit, dry in the best possible way.
Additional Notes: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
Quote: "Love this wine's watermelon afterthoughts, and the way it invigorates the palette."—Emma
Price point: $25
4.) Sequoia Grove Winery's Rollicking Rosé, 2013
Notes of strawberry, lightly sweet finish, perfectly ripe mouthfeel.
Additional Notes: 100% Syrah sourced from Stagecoach Vineyards.
Quote: "Makes you want to have another sip…or glass…or case!"—Rose
Price point: $22
Good weight, light on the palette, crisp finish, notes of red berries.
Additional Notes: The texture is round due to the aging in neutral barrels, but overall acidity offers a fresh finish.
Quote: "Now that's a good summertime wine!"—Ali
Price point: $28
6.) Arnot-Roberts Rosé, 2012
Mandarin orange on the nose, aromatic, unique, notes of herbal spices and strawberry.
Additional Notes: Made from Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão — two Portuguese grapes, grown locally in Healdsburg.
Quote: "This is distinctive, and I like that!"—Peter
Price point: $25
Check out the diverse spectrum of pink tones! (Fun fact: The shade can range from a soft, subtle hue to a vibrant, hot pink, depending on the grape used and how long the grape skins were in contact with the juice).
Stay tuned for Summer of Rosé: Part II, where we'll be sharing and documenting the final six Rosé wines in our lineup!
- March 10 2014
Verve's founder and curator-in-chief, T Beller, has been shaking things up in Wine Country as a connector and community leader for more than 20 years. Her artistic flair and legendary Southern hospitality are the soul of our company, evident in every experience we create. Herewith, a special Q&A with T herself.
Q: What moved you to start your own company, Verve Napa Valley?
A: I have always considered myself a networker, connector, and catalyst. I started Verve because I really enjoy connecting with people and sharing my love for all things Wine Country. You can't live in the Napa Valley for 20-plus years and not learn to appreciate the many extraordinary winery properties and incredible landscapes at every turn. With Verve I wanted to create a company that would provide the kind of nuanced and tailored tour experiences and events that I would put together for friends and family coming in from out of town, where I could treat guests the way that I like to be treated when I travel.
Q: What are your favorite parts of the business?
A: Like anyone who shares something they really love, I have so much fun being involved in the creation of a couple's special anniversary getaway or a group's family reunion or company retreat. Along the way, I get to meet so many bright, diverse, and interesting people from around the world. I'm also dedicated to the intricacies of the event planning and full-service aspect of what we do at Verve. Honestly, I'm still pinching myself that I've stumbled into a career doing something I really enjoy that also allows me to play host and guide. Don't get me wrong, building a business has certainly had its challenges, but I am very much enjoying the wild ride! I'm also ecstatic to say that my fantastic team and I have had the pleasure of curating personalized experiences for more than 2,500 guests from all over the country and internationally, and future requests keep pouring in.
Q: You have a broad professional history including stints as an art concierge, interior designer, marketing consultant and more. How do you pull these other talents into what you do each day at Verve?
A: It all comes down to serving the client's vision. Whether I'm dealing with art, room space, branding, or wine tours, I'm always watching and listening for what exactly is wanted and needed at this time, in this place, and for this audience. With more than 500 area wineries and tasting rooms, it's no small feat, but I really enjoy matching a guest's personality and preferences with their itinerary. Because of my attention to detail, I'd like to think I avoid generic or ill-fitting options and, instead, craft creative solutions that perfectly fit the situation at hand. Ultimately, I thrive when working collaboratively with guests to transform their vision into a reality. Anticipating the guest's needs paired with our in-depth knowledge of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys always makes for memorable one-of-a-kind events and experiences.
Q: What makes Verve unique in the industry?
A: Verve is an extension of my personality. I'm originally from Montgomery, AL and my Southern hospitality shines through in everything we do. I'd like to think my brand of passion for what I do, along with my background in art and design, makes me a uniquely qualified woman to design and host tours and events that sparkle with fun, creativity, and just the right amount of quirkiness! I'm also really proud of the Verve team who shares my vision and passion — they work (and play) with me every day to make certain the Verve experience is a knock-out for our clients. At Verve, the details matter: from a complimentary sabering of champagne to freshly made local cookies and chocolates, we shower our guests with the best of the best! This includes our wheels —our signature Mercedes Benz Luxury Sprinter allows our guests to get acquainted with the authentic spirit of the Napa Valley in style and comfort. The adage "Enter as strangers, leave as friends" combined with a good twist of Southern hospitality truly describes the Verve experience.
Q: What would a typical customized day-long Wine Country tour with Verve look like?
A: Well, no tour is typical, that's for sure! We don't offer cookie cutter tours — instead, Verve creates personalized adventures of a lifetime. We tailor each Wine Country itinerary to complement the unique interests and personalities of our guests. From culinary classes to plein air painting, the guest's passions drive the agenda — ensuring that no two trips are ever the same.
We kickoff most tours with complimentary sabering of champagne before we visit some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path, limited production, artisan wineries. Often times, private tours will be lead by owners and winemakers — and will end in guest access to the hottest cult wines. In essence, Verve introduces you to the authentic folks who embody Wine Country lifestyle. We sometimes pair wine tasting with lunch in the vineyards. In order to have a full experience, we recommend a seven to eight hour tour day with two to four winery stops. We can arrange for multiple day transportation for your special event. From exotic sedans and luxury SUVs to 45-passenger Executive Shuttles, we provide transportation and full event planning for groups of 2 to 200. I also like to build flexibility into each personalized tour and include impromptu stops we think the guest would enjoy. We also offer a variety of themed "tracks" that guests can choose from, for example — Tee Time for golf enthusiasts, The Artiste for an exclusive look into art, architecture and landscapes, and Craft Beer Trail for those who are interested in beer and spirits as well as wines. Check out our Wine Country Experiences tab for more info!
Q: Outside of the office, what are your favorite pastimes?
A: I love working in my garden filled with as many seasonal vegetables as I can manage. I'm also a huge advocate for the arts and education, so I enjoy attending as many openings and exhibitions as I can — most recently I enjoyed the David Hockney exhibit at the deYoung in San Francisco. I fill my home with out-of-the-box mixed media artwork with plenty of color and pizazz…it seems to fit my life and personality quite well! I have noticed, though, that, no matter what I'm doing, I seem to find time to think about Verve and how to add even more satisfying and truly special experiences for our guests…it's my all-consuming passion!
Have a question for T? Leave us a comment below and she'll answer directly! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @VerveNapaValley, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/vervenapavalley for weekly updates and photos.
- February 09 2014
We periodically head out into Wine Country to visit our favorite inns and hotels, wineries, restaurants, and other partner organizations. These excursions have proved invaluable to the Verve team as we curate one-of-a-kind itineraries for our guests, and refer dozens of folks to our partners on a daily basis. On our most recent "team research" day, we had the pleasure of visiting our courageous friends at the Calistoga Fire Department. Who wouldn't want these guys as your first responders?!
It's a little known fact that Verve's lead chauffeur, Joe Russo, is also an active local firefighter for the city of Calistoga. Although he's behind the camera in the above shot, Joe is truly our Hero of Hospitality! During our visit, we got a special tour of the fire station, tried on some gear, and even stumbled upon (and consumed!) their impressive candy stash.
Next, we stopped by Solage Calistoga and its critically-acclaimed Sol Bar Restaurant. We loved meeting some of their fabulous staff (front desk agent Jonathan Bastien and concierge Jason Wright) and taking them on-board to check out the Verve buggy (our luxury Mercedes Benz Sprinter).
Our lunch at Sol Bar was such a treat — enjoying good food while sitting by a fire, drenched in lovely natural light…not a bad situation to be in! No wonder we all look so happy.
Our last stop of the day was at St. Helena's Black Rock Inn, located at the base of obsidian-covered Glass Mountain. The inn's owner, Jeff Orlik, prides himself on giving his guests a VIP experience — just like us! He offers up home-cooked meals, tours and tastings in his rustic wine cave cellar, quiet time in their intoxicatingly tranquil sunroom, and don't even get us started on the decadent chocolate brownies he bakes! With both main house accommodations and a separate guest house available, Black Rock Inn makes for the perfect getaway destination in St. Helena for our guests.
Where will our next adventure in the Valley take us? Stay connected with us through regular posts on our Facebook page.