First Cut

For those who know the Venge name, they know it’s synonymous with truly exceptional winemaking. Kirk Venge has greatness in his blood: his father Nils Venge was an incredible winemaker in his own right, and gave him all the skill necessary to make an indelible mark on the future of the California wine industry.

Today, Kirk owns two of his own wineries: Venge Vineyards in Napa, and Croix Estates in Sonoma. Running these two powerhouse wineries is a full time job by any stretch of the imagination, yet he still lends his winemaking skills to a plethora  of other labels, proving just how sought after he really is. One of those wineries is Tres Perlas (“Three Pearls”) where he is the head winemaker for proprietors Oscar and Denise Renteria.

“The Renteria family was in Napa Valley before most of us, and have remained a major contributor to the health and welfare of our vineyards, wine business, and community.” – Andy Beckstoffer.

When Tres Perlas and Kirk Venge combine forces, incredible things happen. They make a number of high-quality wines with different sub-labels, among them is Renteria Family Wines “First Cut” Red Blend 2015, a deliciously rich blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, with Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot. Each varietal comes from a different family-farmed vineyard across Napa Valley, that has been meticulously cared for by the Renterias for over 50 years.


The wine opens up with a expressive array of aromatics, with strong notes of blackberries, dark cherries, crushed stone, violets, black spice, and brown sugar. On the palate, this wine is rich and plush: dark chocolate, espresso, blueberries and baking spices coalesce to create a smooth, sensual and seductive wine. This is a wine that you want to last forever on the finish, and it does.

On the Renterias’ website they talk about Oscar and Kirk: “Remarkable things can happen when farmer and winemaker speak the same language,” a statement that – after tasting one of their amazing wines – no one could possibly argue with. Renteria’s “First Cut” Red Blend 2015 is not the easiest wine to find, so if you do, stock up. You’re going to feel a severe sense of longing when your first bottle runs dry.


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