Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mt. Veeder

About a year ago we wrote about the Monte Rosso Vineyard which I had read was producing the finest Cabernet Sauvignon out of Sonoma Valley.  We learned that the vineyard was located on Moon Mountain which is literally on the other side of the mountain from Napa's Mount Veeder.  Both vineyards reside in the Mayacamas mountain range which bisects Napa-Sonoma with the vineyards being equidistant from the famed wine making valleys and the towns that bear the Napa and Sonoma names.

Both vineyards are large with many individual wineries sourcing juice from them.  They are also much older than we would think.  The modern California fine wine industry really started in the 1960's but the Mount Veeder vineyards in particular date back to the middle of the 19th century with many participating wineries starting there in the early pre-prohibition twentieth century.

Mount Veeder lies in the southwest corner of Napa Valley with the vineyards facing south overlooking the San Pablo Bay.  The vineyards, which are in small pockets going up the mountainside,  start at 500 feet altitude and go up to 1,600 feet with most being above the fog bank emanating from the bay.  These rugged vineyards are terraced and cling to the very steep hillsides of the mountain which, of necessity, require all work there to be done by hand.

 So what makes this place so special?  The shallow soil in Mount Veeder vineyards is made up of ancient seabed materials driven upwards by plate tectonics over volcanic rock.  The climate at this altitude reverses what we usually anticipate to be evident.  Here the days are cooler than the nights resulting in the longest growing season in Napa.  Even with the additional hang time there the berries end up being small with concentrated rich and spicy flavors.  The presence of the bay is credited with heightening the acidic structure.

The textbook character of Cabernet grown here would include licorice, spice, blackfruit, cassis, black currant flavors along with minerality.  From their website the 2014 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon currently in the store has "intense dark fruit aromas of black current followed by wet earth, mushrooms, and carmelized sugar with hints of dried herbs before long rich cassis flavors on the palate".

Please join us this Thursday the 31st at 5pm when David Rimmer presents a tasting of new Italian wines in his fine European portfolio.  Then join us again on Saturday at 1pm when we kick off the holiday weekend with another tasting.

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