Napa Valley – Mount Veeder Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Mount Veeder WineryI have my new customer base at Whole Foods Market North Miami to thank for introducing me to the Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon.  Customer after customer, probably better described as fans of this wine have repeatedly let me know how well priced [$30-32.00 range] this wine is at our store. I’ve had shoppers buy it by the case [with an extra 10% discount]  tell me they can’t get it better priced on-line or via wine clubs. Good for them and good for us!

Mount Veeder Winery in Napa Valley, was the first to grow all five red Bordeaux varietals planted on the same property. In fact this Cabernet is actually made up of; 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec.

Winery info:

Mount Veeder Winery is a dramatic estate with three vineyards carved high in the hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains, overlooking southern Napa Valley. The property totals 121 acres, mostly forest and brush, out of which only 47 are planted to vine.

Vines ranging from 1,000–1,600 feet in elevation cling to rugged, steep slopes that offer cool conditions that lead to slow ripening, which extends the growing season. Mount Veeder is usually the last to harvest in Napa Valley. The result is fruit with highly concentrated flavors – big, bold and brambly – a Cab lover’s feast.

My notes:

Dark ruby-red in color I noted the fact the nose was so well-balanced immediately as I decanted. Within minutes wood [oak] started to overtake the dark fruit. The aroma of leather arrived soon afterwards with the return of rich fruit as mere minutes passed.

With bold tannins and medium body this wine needs to breathe/open.  A richness developed at the 20-30 minute mark with eucalyptus and an earthiness on the nose and palate.  At one and a half hours cocoa, cigar box  and a fruit finish was established. By the 2 hour mark the herbaceous notes on the nose expanded along with vanilla on the palate.  At 3 hours my notes just read; incredible smoothness.

Obviously I enjoyed this wine and I can see why many of my customers do also. Would I decant this wine for 3 hours? Probably not. But I have to admit the “smooth” epiphany at one and a half hours was well worth the wait!  Not only will I need patience when pouring this wine again, yes I have another bottle in the cellar, but I will also need the gift of patience to wait and not open it tonight!  ¡SALUD!

Winemaker Jane Myers notes:

Appearance: Deep ruby
Aromas: Ripe black currant, dark cherry, and lilac interlace with black pepper, bay leaves, coffee, and toasted oak to create a rich, dense nose.
Flavors: Powerful, rich, and textured notes of dark cherry, ripe plum, caramel, and vanilla weave an intense, voluminous mouthfeel accented by hints of anise and mocha. The back palate is rounded out by a lengthy yet smooth finish of vibrant sweet oak, tobacco leaves, and black olives.

Time in Oak: 20 months

Type of Oak: 70% new oak, predominantly French with some American oak.

Total Acidity: 6.1 g/l

Alcohol: 14%

Additional winery info:

Mount Veeder Winery was one born from the hard work and dedication of Michael and Arlene Bernstein.  The Bernsteins first discovered the rugged property in the early 1960s and later bought it as a rustic retreat.  In the ensuing years they transformed it into an enviable vineyard, almost by accident. After farming the property’s prune orchard for the first few years, a farmhand who lived on the property presented the Bernsteins with a bundle of cast-off grapevine cuttings.  Michael stuck the unrooted cuttings into the ground and never gave them a drop of water.  Miraculously, of the 60 cuttings planted, 58 lived.  Michael turned his full attention to the vines and built his land into a thriving vineyard, ultimately making history as the first vintner in Napa Valley to plant one property to all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties.

10 responses »

  1. For me, (and yes, a generalization) mountain wines from Napa are over-the-top tannic for my taste … thus require years of aging before it suits my palate. Glad you enjoyed this one.

  2. The idea of decanting hours before drinking is so strange to me. Is it our soda pop and beer culture? In other parts of the world do people do this? Ernesto, you have opened a new way of appreciating wines for me. Should I call this “slow drinking”?

    • I like that! For me it’s the appreciation of the wine. But at the same time I also enjoy long leisurely meals where courses are appreciated much the same way, along with the company of course. As I’ve mentioned before I love my Sunday Suppers. Very similar to our meals in VT. Great question about other parts of the world. Going to have to look into that. My first thought is that many of those wines are young local varietals a lot less tannic unlike the heavier Cabs etc. But then Bordeaux came to mind! I think the fork in the road may be; aging to soften or decanting to approach a similar effect.
      Thank you!

      • So now that brings to mind a technical question. What is it about decanting that “softens” the wine? Why does mixing with oxygen do this?
        As a ps; I love the fact that this vineyard happened by chance. If he had done research it probably wouldn’t have happened.

      • Interesting. From The Science of Decanting;
        Scientists discovered that the concentration of organic acids (which play a major role in sour flavors) and polyphenols (including tannins) decreased after decanting, which explains its mellowing effect.
        Room temperature and light intensity also played a role in the decanting process, they found. Higher temperatures could lessen the sour-tasting acids, and when warmer conditions were combined with increased light intensity, the effect was to “accelerate the changes of polyphenols in red wine in decanting.”
        Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Mt. Veeder Winery « Wine Life Radio

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