Deep ruby in color with wonderfully rich, ripe berries and summer cherry pie on the nose, complemented by hints of earth, cedar, rosemary, and dried sage. A supple, well-structured palate that’s full, almost juicy, with a slightly mineral edge. Dark cassis fruit layers with bright blackberry, building complexity with layers of mocha and peppercorn. The wine is dry but finishes with a lovely, delicate sweetness derived from its fruit character and 20 months in fine oak barrels.
86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot
After three winters of low rainfall, 2015-2016 brought the much anticipated El Niño to Napa Valley. We received about 95% of normal rainfall. Rains came steady and even, extending into the spring—perfect for filling reservoirs and soaking soil profiles. Wetter soils meant big, happy vines. Though early bud break got the vines off to a fast start, verdant growth and relatively cool weather in spring and summer extended the timeline. Summer ended with a cool August and a couple of weeks of fall-like weather. This brought down the pace of ripening to a smooth, even glide, which allowed us to pick each block at an ideal level of maturity. We started our 2016 Mount Veeder harvest with block 4 from the Rosenquist Ranch on September 9, just one day earlier than in 2015. The less sun-exposed North and Winery Ranches followed the subsequent weeks. We finished off this year’s Mount Veeder harvest with blocks 432, 433, and 436 on October 12.
Our Mount Veeder vines speak a language all their own. Becoming fluent in that language, fully understanding all its subtleties and nuance is the trick to making great wine from mountain vineyards. Over the years, we have come to know the contours, dips, and ridges of the mountain and the sequence of ripening that is the key to it all. A Mount Veeder harvest is a Zen-like art of moving across a three-dimensional chessboard. Take the uphill side of the vine only, or the downhill side, or just the north, south, east, or west section. We pick only what’s ready and at peak flavor and ripeness. It’s a complex endeavor, and needs to be carved with precision, matching areas of the block that are at the same level of ripeness, and leaving other areas to mature another week or more.