Located west of Napa and Yountville is one of a kind appellation. Though Mount Veeder (Mt. Veeder) is the largest of Napa Valley’s appellations, nature limits its wine production. Only 1.3% of the Napa Valley grapes come from this appellation.
Geography, scarcity of plantable sites, and mountain low yields make for smaller wine productions. Mt. Veeder terroir possesses unique growing conditions for wine grapes. The soils are sandstones and shale, derived from uplifted sea floor, rather than the other Napa Valley appellations that are either of volcanic or alluvial in nature. Available sites for growing have steep slopes with shallow topsoils. Thanks to its proximity to the San Pablo Bay Mt. Veeder has the coolest climate of all Napa Valley appellations. Weather and geography results in the perfect storm for growing Bordeaux-like climate conditions with a longer growing season.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the most grown grape in Mt. Veeder; however, there are at least other 17 varieties are grown on the mountain. Mountain contours, rouged conditions and varying elevations provide for small pocket areas (mesoclimates) with different sun and wind exposures suited to grow Syrah, Petit Verdot, Grüner Veltliner and Albariño among others.
Wines from Mt. Veeder are rare, and it is great to have the opportunity of savor and learn about this appellation’s jewels. Last September 21, 2013 the Mt. Veeder Appellation Council hosted the 14th Annual Mt. Veeder Appellation Wine Tasting took place at the grounds of the beautiful Hess Collection Winery, in the heart of Mt. Veeder. Heavy rains the morning of the event did not deter attendees from enjoying wines from twenty-eight wineries showcasing Mt. Veeder fruit.
Though, it is hard to describe all wines produced in this unique appellation, here are few Mt. Veeder jewels that you should try.
- 2010 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a robust wine with aromas of cherries and dark berries, and slight oak and baking spices. In the palette, it has well-integrated tannins. Retail value is $55.00.
- 2012 Hess Collection Small Block Series Albariño – This is the second release of this varietal by Hess. This is a nice summer wine with citrus and lychee notes. In the palette, it is slightly dry, crisp with along and pleasant finish. Retail value is $28.00.
- 2012 Lagier Meredith Vineyard Rosé - A dry Rosé blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Zinfandel and 10% Mondeuse. This is a well made and food friendly pairing wine. It has aromas of fresh strawberries and cranberries and on the palette is mouthwatering with flavors of red fruit with nice acidity. Retail value is $20.00.
- 2011 Lagier Meredith Tribidrag – Tribidrag is the ancient name for Zinfandel. This wine is a homage to the noble European heritage of Zinfandel. It is a well-balanced wine, with a pleasantly dry finish. It is as beautiful in the nose as it is in the palate. Retail value is $45.00.
- 2010 Lampyridae Communication Block Cabernet Sauvignon – A great wine for a great cause. Sale proceeds from Communication Block wines are donated to Napa Valley Kids Connect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children with motor and communication difficulties. The wine has dark berries and vanilla aromas with well-integrated tannins and lasting finish. Retail value is $100.00.
- 2008 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with great balance and well-integrated tannins. It has blackberry and cherry aromas, with dry and yet smooth and long lasting finish. Retail value is $75.00.
- 2010 Mt. Brave Malbec – This is a 100% Malbec, with intense purple hue. It is a fruit forward wine with vibrant acidity. On the nose, you will find dark berries, oak and vanilla. In the palate, it is dry with an elegant and long finish. Retail value is $75.00.
- 2007 Progeny Cabernet Sauvignon – It takes a total of over five years to develop this complex wine. It is aged for 30 months in new French oak, and allowed to rest for other 30 months in the bottle before it is released for public consumption. In the nose, it has aromas of dark fruit, vanilla, and a touch of floral elegance. In the palate, it is balanced with flavors of black ripe fruit and great tannins. Retail value is $150.00.
- 2007 Renteria Wines Tambor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – This is an intense, elegant and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It has aromas of black fruit, licorice, and vanilla. Lingering ripened fruit flavors are in balance with silky tannins. Supple tannins and excellent complexity are a great indication of its aging capacity. Retail value is $50.00.
- 2010 Rubissow Wines Cabernet Sauvignon – This is a 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot wine with aromas of baking spices, oak, vanilla, cherries and dark berries. In the palette, it has plums and dark berries, with dry and elegant finish. Retail value is $60.00.
- 2009 Spotted Owl Mountain Cuveé – It is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Syrah, with predominant characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has dark berries aromas with a balanced and earthy palette. Retail value is $45.00.
- 2012 Yates Family Viognier – This wine has nice acidity and crispness, with stone fruit notes and honey. It is a perfect summer wine with a delicate and refreshing palette. Retail value is $38.00.