Much like last year at this event, I found myself impressed with the wines being shown from the mountain wineries of Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain, and Diamond Mountain in Napa.
Unlike last year, though, I found myself not overwhelmed by tannin in the vast majority of wines being poured. The newer bottlings (mostly 2005 cabernets) are more fruit forward, and older ones (including some poured last year) have mellowed out a bit after a year in bottle. Also got the chance to taste three different bottlings from the ’90s — though none of them were as good as their younger counterparts.
My favorite wine of the event came from an outlet I’d never heard of: O’Shaugnessy, which makes a trio of wines but had only its Mt. Veeder Cabernet on tap. At $95 a bottle it doesn’t come cheap, but it’s hard to find wines with this level of intensity that are also full of ripe fruit and amazing wood/tannin balance, too. Could have drank this all day.
Props as well to Guilliams for pulling out the 2004 Cabernet Reserve from Spring Mountain for a taste: Amazing richness, incredible depth; needs about five more years in the bottle and it’ll be perfect. Also really enjoyed their Cabernet Franc, a wine that’s often difficult to pull off with finesse.
At last, some credit to Sherwin Family Vineyards for its jammy Dry Creek Valley Syrah. Not really a mountain wine, no, but easy-drinking… and not, apparently, for sale on the company’s website, either.
Overall: Very impressive wines, all around.
Full report follows, rating 23 wines. Prices were not available at the show.
Napa Valley with Altitude 2009 Full Report
2002 Godspeed Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder / A-
1999 Godspeed Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder / B+
2005 Godspeed Trinity / B
2003 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder / A-
1995 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder / B-
2005 O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder / A
2005 Vinoce Red Blend Mt. Veeder / A-
2006 Frias Family Vineyard Spring Mountain Cabernet / A-
2006 Frias Family Vineyard Red Wine / A-
2004 Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain Reserve / A
2005 Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain / B+
2004 Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain / A-
2005 Guilliams Vineyards Cabernet Franc / A-
2005 Marston Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain / B+
2005 Sherwin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain / A-
2005 Sherwin Family Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Syrah / A
2005 Andrew Geoffrey Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain / B+
2005 Diamond Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain / B+
2006 Diamond Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain / B+
1999 Diamond Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain / B
2005 Dyer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain / A-
2006 Von Strasser Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain / A-
2006 Von Strasser Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain Estate / A-
- Tasting Report: Napa Valley with Altitude, April 24, 2008
- Tasting Report: Wines of Howell Mountain 2009
- Tasting Report: 2008 California Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Samples
- Tasting Report: 2009 California Cabernet Barrel Samples