Fabulous Terroir and Impressive Wines: Mt. Veeder Appellation Tasting

0911 033
12TH ANNUAL MOUNT VEEDER APPELLATION WINE TASTING – The Hess Collection Winery, Mount Veeder, Napa, California (9/24/2011)

This was my first time attending this annual event, which was held on the lovely arbor-shaded grounds of The Hess Collection Winery in Mount Veeder. The weather was ideal, sunny but fairly cool, and I was very impressed by many of the wines–a higher proportion than usual at an event of this size–including some by producers that were new to me.

The Mount Veeder sub-appellation was established in 1990. Its vineyards are planted along ridgetops between Sonoma and Napa valleys, starting just west of the town of Napa. At the time the appellation was established, there were only five wineries there. Mayacamas Vineyards was the first, dating all the way back to 1889, and Mt. Veeder Vineyards and Hess Collection were also in operation. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were then the dominant varieties, and the AVA is still very much known for its Cabernet and other Bordeaux varieties. From this tasting, I would say that this is not only great terroir for Chardonnay, Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals, but also for ageworthy, complex Syrah, and impressive Sauvignon Blanc.

The representatives at the Veedercrest table told me the Veedercrest Chardonnay, that they claimed was “Chablis-like” and that they weren’t pouring that day, was being poured at Savour Wine Bar in St. Helena. So that’s where I headed after the appellation tasting. I was also able to taste a couple of additional wines from Spotted Owl at Savour. As a result, I tasted a total of 57 wines from 23 Mount Veeder producers, yielding an unusually high average score for a large event for me of 90.3 points.

The producers responsible for one or more wines that I rated 91 points or higher were Foyt Family, Jake-Ryan, Lagier Meredith, Mayacamas, Meadowcroft, Mt. Brave, O’Shaugnessy, Paratus, Random Ridge, Renteria, Robert Craig, Rubissow, Rudd, Spotted Owl, Veedercrest, Vinoce, Y Rousseau and Yates Family.

My favorite wines of the tasting, wines that I rated 92 points or higher, were:
2008 Foyt Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon No. 77 Napa Valley Reserve – 93 points
2007 Lagier Meredith Syrah – 94 points
2008 Lagier Meredith Syrah – 94 points
2009 Lagier Meredith Pott Zinfandel Chester’s Anvil – 93+ points
2009 Lagier Meredith Pott Malbec Chester’s Anvil – 93 points
2008 Meadowcroft Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 points
2006 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Progeny – 94 points
2007 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 points
2007 Random Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 points
2007 Renteria Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Vineyard – 92 points
2007 Rubissow Syrah – 92+ points
2010 Rudd Sauvignon Blanc Mt. Veeder – 93 points
2007 Spotted Owl Vineyards Syrah Alexandria’s Cuvée – 92 points
2007 Veedercrest Cabernet Sauvignon – 93 points
2007 Vinoce Proprietary Red – 92+ points
2008 Vinoce Cabernet Sauvignon – 93 points
2008 Yates Family Vineyard Merlot Fleur de Veeder – 93 points
2008 Yates Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc Cheval – 92+ point
s

For more information on particular, noteworthy producers, and my complete tasting notes, see below.

Fontanella Family

  • 2010 Fontanella Family Wines Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light yellow color; pineapple, apple nose; tart apple, tart pineapple palate with acidity; medium finish 87+ points (87 pts.)
  • 2008 Fontanella Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark purple red violet color; ripe berry, plum, cassis nose; plush, very accessible, cassis, berry palate; medium-plus finish (89 pts.)

Foyt Family

Race car champion A.J. Foyt’s son and grandson, Larry Foyt and A.J. Foyt IV, created the Foyt Family Wines label to pay tribute to the family patriarch. The winemaker is Tom Meadowcroft of Meadowcroft Wines (see below). The No. 77 in the name refers to 1977, the year A.J. Foyt became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. Besides the excellent Reserve Cab, the family also sells a Mount Veeder Chardonnay and meritage blend.

Godspeed

  • 2008 Godspeed Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light yellow color; ripe apple, baked apple, baked pear nose; baked pear, baked apple palate; medium finish (20% new oak, no malolactic) (88 pts.)
  • 2003 Godspeed Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium dark ruby color with pale meniscus; tart cassis, weedy nose; maturing, tart currant, weedy palate; medium finish (84 pts.)
  • 2004 Godspeed Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium dark ruby color; tart currant nose; focused, maturing, tart currant palate; medium-plus finish (86 pts.)
  • 2005 Godspeed Trinity – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark red violet color; cassis, ripe currant, red fruit nose; tart currant, tart red berry palate; medium finish (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Syrah, 25% Malbec) (88 pts.)

Hess Collection

  • 2008 The Hess Collection Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light yellow color; apple, tart pear nose; soft, ripe apple, pear, baked pear palate; medium finish 87+ points (no malolactic, neutral oak) (87 pts.)
  • 2007 The Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvée – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark purple red violet color; focused plum, black fruit nose; tart black fruit, plum palate; medium finish (74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Malbec, 4% Syrah, 4% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot) (87 pts.)
  • 2007 The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; ripe berry, plum, cassis nose; tart cassis, tart plum, black fruit palate; medium finish (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 7% Merlot) (88 pts.)

Jake-Ryan

  • 2007 Jake-Ryan Cellars Zinfandel Bald Mountain – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; tart black fruit, plum, oak nose; plush, tart plum, tart black fruit palate, very Syrah-like; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Jake-Ryan Cellars 3-Sum – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
    Dark purple red violet color; deep, baked plum, berry pie nose; roasted berry, plum, berry palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points (45% Syrah, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Zinfandel) (88 pts.)

Lagier Meredith

I’ve written here before that U.C. Davis Professor Emeritus Carole Meredith and her husband, winemaker Stephen Lagier, have produced, in my opinion, some of California’s greatest, most ageworthy Syrahs since 1998–a single bottling each year from their home vineyard in Mount Veeder. In partnership with Aaron and Claire Pott, they are also now producing a line of wines under the Chester’s Anvil label. These wines are also quite stunning and impressive. The Zin is one of the most elegant I’ve ever tasted, while the Malbec is the best California Malbec I’ve tasted. Stephen and Carole are major ambassadors for the appellation, and are definitely showing what the soils and microclimate can do besides producing strong Cabernets and Bordeaux varietal wines.
0911 003

  • 2008 Lagier Meredith Syrah – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark purple red violet color; tart berry, roasted berry and plum nose; tasty, tight, structured, tart berry, tart plum, red currant, mineral palate; needs 4-5 years; long finish (94 pts.)
  • 2009 Lagier Meredith Pott Zinfandel Chester’s Anvil – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Bright medium dark ruby color; aromatic, appealing, bramble, tart berry nose; delicious, elegant, plush, ripe currant, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Lagier Meredith Pott Malbec Chester’s Anvil – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; violet, tart berry, red plum nose; youthful, elegant, plush, tart plum, violet palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points (best California Malbec ever!) (93 pts.)
  • 2007 Lagier Meredith Syrah – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark purple red violet color; nice violet, berry, ripe plum nose; tasty, youthful, tart black fruit, plum, violet palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish (94 pts.)

Marketta Hand Made

0911 022

  • 2006 Marketta Vineyards Hand Made – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark red violet color; baked plum, baked berry nose; baked plum, baked berry palate; medium-plus finish (59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 20% Merlot) (88 pts.)
  • 2009 Marketta Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Hand Made – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light yellow color; smoky, kiwi fruit, lemon grass nose; tart peach, lemon grass palate; medium finish (89 pts.)

Mayacamas

  • 2008 Mayacamas Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Very light yellow color; tart peach, green fruit nose; soft, tart green fruit, oak palate; medium finish (86 pts.)
  • 2008 Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very light yellow color; light, tart green apple nose; soft, tart green apple, green fruit palate; medium finish (no malolactic) (87 pts.)
  • 2006 Mayacamas Vineyards Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium dark ruby color; lovely, lifted, red berry, cassis, tart cherry nose; tasty, tart cherry, tart cassis, red berry palate; medium finish (with 17% Cabernet Sauvignon; 6 mos. in large oak casks, then 1 year in small barriques) (91 pts.)
  • 2005 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; maturing, tart cassis, leafy, tobacco nose; tart cassis, tobacco, menthol palate with near medium acidity; medium-plus finish (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc; 1.5 years in large oak barrels, 1 year in 60 gallon oak barrels) (89 pts.)

Meadowcroft

0911 017
Tom Meadowcroft, pictured above, is the winemaker. The Meadowcroft label is for Tom’s reserve, vineyard designated wines. He produces additional wines, including wines from other appellations, under the Magito and Thomas Henry labels. Tom got interested in winemaking when he worked harvest in Bordeaux in 1979. He subsequently worked at wineries in Washington State and Napa, attended U.C. Davis and Napa College, and then became a vineyard manager. He has managed numerous properties for Sonoma and Napa producers. His ’08 Cabernet was delicious.

  • 2008 Meadowcroft Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; ripe cassis, black fruit, blackberry nose; tight, tart black fruit, blackberry palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)

Mt. Brave

This is a new project by the Kendall Jackson Artisan Winery team. There is no website, and little info as yet. The winemaker is Laura Diaz Munoz, pictured below, who is assistant winemaker for Cardinale/Lokoya/La Jota. All three of the wines she poured were quite good, especially the Merlot.
0911 010

  • 2008 Mt. Brave Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium dark ruby color; lightly floral, violet, tart cherry nose; soft, plush, tart cherry, tart red plum, currant palate with good balancing acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Mt. Brave Malbec – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark ruby color; nice violet, floral, berry nose with poise; tight, violet, tart berry, ripe plum palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon) (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; deep cassis, fine oak, tart currant nose; tasty, tart currant, tart cassis palate with character; needs 1 year; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)

Neal Family

O’Shaughnessy

The ’06 Progeny was one of my WOTD. The ’07 Cabernet was very good as well. Betty O’Shaugnessy Woolls and Paul Woolls are the proprietors, and Sean Capiaux is the winemaker. Sean started out at Jordan Winery, has worked in Australia and Long Island, was assistant winemaker at Peter Michael, and produces Pinot Noir under his own Capiaux Cellars label. The viticulturalist is Alan Pierson, who was with Peter Michael for 20 years, and who is also part owner of L’Angevin Wines. They make wines from vineyards on Howell Mountain, in Oakville and Mt. Veeder. The Mt. Veeder property, called Betty’s Vineyard, is steeply terraced, produces very small berries and its first vintage was 2002. Progeny is another label for the O’Shaugnessy team, and the 2006 Cabernet is the label’s first release. It sold out at a $150 price tag, and it is a smoking good Cabernet. The grapes come from another vineyard on Mt. Veeder, formerly an old cattle ranch, that the Woolls purchased on the same weekend they were married. They selected the best vineyard blocks for the Progeny.
0911 015

  • 2006 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Progeny – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; rich, plum, cassis, violet nose; tasty, poised, rich, ripe cassis, tart blackberry, violet palate; medium-plus finish (30 mos. in French oak and 2 more years aged in bottle) (94 pts.)
  • 2007 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; nice, cassis, ripe currant nose; tasty, Bordeaux-like, tart currant, tart plum palate; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)
  • 2006 O’Shaughnessy Syrah Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; aromatic, roasted plum, black fruit, toast nose; tasty, tight, tart plum, roasted fruit palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Paratus

0911 005

  • 2008 Paratus Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; lovely, tart cassis, red berry, creosote, lightly toasty nose; plush, youthful, ripe cassis, red plum, cedar palate with integrating oak; needs 3-4 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Random Ridge

Random Ridge is a 47-acre ranch straddling the Napa and Sonoma county line at an elevation of 2300 feet that comprises 10 acres of densely planted vineyards. Owner Bill Hawley planted the first vines in 1982. All of these ’07s were good, and the Cabernet was particularly strong.
0911 012

  • 2007 Random Ridge Fortunata – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark red violet color; lifted, floral, tart raspberry, light menthol nose; tasty, juicy, tart red fruit, tart raspberry, ripe currant, menthol palate; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Random Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; nice tart plum, ripe cassis, raspberry nose; very tasty, tart cassis, tart black cherry palate with character; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Random Ridge Cabernet Franc – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; reticent, tart black fruit, tart berry nose; tasty, tart red berry, tart plum palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (90 pts.)

Renteria

Renteria is the winemaking arm of Renteria Vineyard Management, which was founded by Salvador Renteria in 1987, after he’d gained experience in winegrowing for many prestigious Napa producers. The company is now run by Salvador’s son Oscar, who took over in 1993, after having worked with his father for many years. They currently care for over 1800 acres of vines, and their clients have included William Selyem, Robert Mondavi Winery, Caymus, Rombauer and Duckhorn. Oscar started making wine with the 1997 vintage. The winemaker is Karen Culler, who makes her own Culler Wines, and who was winemaker for Mondavi’s Vichon Winery. She also consults for Wolf Family Vineyards, Ladera and Rivera Vineyards. This Cabernet is the only wine they make from Mt. Veeder grapes. Most of the grapes, 97%, come from the Tambor Vineyard, a vineyard with steep slopes at a 600-foot elevation in the southern part of Mt. Veeder. It was planted in 1992 to the Weimer clone. The wine sells for $50.
0911 019

  • 2007 Renteria Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark purple red violet color; appealing, redolent, tart berry, dried berry, black fruit nose; tasty, plush, black fruit, berry, dried berry palate; medium-plus finish (with 3% Syrah; aged 20 months in 55% new French oak) (92 pts.)

Robert Craig

  • 2005 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark ruby color; berry, lavender nose; tight, tart berry, black fruit, lavender palate; needs 2-plus years; medium-plus finish (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark red violet color; nice berry, ripe black fruit, smoke nose; baked berry, black fruit, smoke palate; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish 88+ points (88 pts.)

Rubissow

Rubissow is based in Mt. Veeder on a 45-acre hillside estate, of which 18.5 acres are planted to vines that are farmed organically. Peter Rubissow is the general manager, and he and his sister partnered to acquire and modernize their father’s brand. Peter had worked with his father as sales director for the old brand. Sister Ariel Rubissow-Okamoto oversees vineyard operations. The winemaker is Timothy Milos, who started out at Opus One, and was director of winemaking for Cliff Lede and the former S. Anderson. Vineyard Manager is Ramon Pulido, who learned his craft at Domaine Chandon, managing Chandon’s Mt. Veeder vineyard. I particularly like the ’07 Syrah, the budwood for which came from Lagier Meredith.
0911 029

  • 2006 Rubissow Merlot Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; ripe currant, tart black fruit, tart berry nose; plush, tart berry, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (with 5% Malbec; 25 mos. in French oak) (90 pts.)
  • 2007 Rubissow Syrah – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Opaque purple red violet color; tart berry, black fruit, creosote nose; tasty, plush, tart black fruit, tart berry palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (budwood from Lagier Meredith; 20 mos. in French oak) (92 pts.)
  • 2006 Rubissow Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Opaque purple red violet color; cassis, plum, French oak nose; plush, cassis, plum, palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish 90+ points (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot) (90 pts.)
  • 2006 Rubissow Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark ruby color; appealing, violet, cassis, ripe plum nose; tasty, plush, ripe cassis, plum, violet palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Rudd

Rudd is well known for their excellent proprietary reds, but their Sauvignon Blanc comes from Mt. Veeder. I’ve been impressed with prior vintages, and appreciate the fact that its style is inspired by Graves whites, which are usually a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. In the case of the 2010, there is a small amount of Semillon as well as some Sauvignon Gris. The vineyard is part of an 80-acre parcel just north of Mt. Veeder, at an elevation of 1600 feet. Leslie Rudd is the owner, Patrick Sullivan is the talented winemaker, and David Abreu is the vineyard manager.
0911 009

  • 2010 Rudd Sauvignon Blanc Mt. Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light yellow color; lovely, poised, light smoke, lemon grass nose; tasty, poised, tart peach, lemon grass, light smoke palate; medium-plus finish (one of the best Cali Sauv Blancs I’ve tasted) (93 pts.)

Spotted Owl

Jill and Mikhail Gishizky are the proprietors of Spotted Owl. They have long been winegrowers in Mt. Veeder, and they decided to create a special cuvée in 2004 to celebrate the birth of their daughter Alexandria. Strong reviews and response to that wine led them to continue with their winemaking efforts. My favorite bottling is the Syrah Alexandria’s Cuvée, which is made from selected barrels of the Syrah grown on the Gishizkys’ vineyard, which is on the east face of Mt. Veeder, at 1200 to 1400 feet elevation. The winemaker is Rolando Herrera, who has worked at Stag’s Leap, Chateau Potelle, Vine Cliff, Paul Hobbs and Mi Sueno.
0911 024

  • 2010 Spotted Owl Vineyards Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light lemon yellow color; light pineapple, pear nose; tart pineapple, pear palate; medium finish (100% malolactic, 50% new oak) (89 pts.)
  • 2008 Spotted Owl Vineyards Mountain Cuvée – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Medium dark ruby color; cassis, ripe berry nose with lift; tart berry, smoke, creosote palate; medium finish (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Syrah) (85 pts.)
  • 2007 Spotted Owl Vineyards Syrah Alexandria’s Cuvée – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Purple red violet color; tart berry, roasted plum nose; tasty, silky textured, tart roasted plum, tart black fruit palate; medium-plus finish (20 mos. in French oak, 50% new) (92 pts.)
  • 2006 Spotted Owl Vineyards Syrah Lev’s Cuvée – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Opaque purple red violet color; focused, tart black fruit, roasted black fruit, tart plum nose; tart black fruit, dried fig, creosote palate; medium-plus finish (18 mos. in French oak, 50% new) (91 pts.)

Veedercrest

Winemaker Alfred Baxter started Veedercrest with a group of investors in the early ’70s that included Ron Fenolio, who is now sole proprietor. They purchased and planted a 300-acre property on Mt. Veeder and released their first wines in 1972. In 1976, their Chardonnay was included in the famous Judgment of Paris tasting. The winemaker is now Chad Alexander. He worked for 14 years for The Hess Collection, and was head winemaker at Robert Craig. I liked the Chardonnay I tasted at Savour very much, even if it isn’t grown on Mt. Veeder, and even though I didn’t find it particularly “Chablis-like.” The 2007 Cabernet is particularly good, from the Pym Rae vineyard at 1600 feet elevation in the northwesterly corner of Mt. Veeder on the crest of the Mayacamas Mountains.
0911 036

  • 2006 Veedercrest Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Dark ruby color; roasted cassis, tart blackberry, tar nose; tasty, tight, tart blackberry, tart black fruit, tar palate; needs 2-plus years; medium-plus finish (36 mos. in French oak) (91 pts.)
  • 2007 Veedercrest Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Dark red violet color; tart cassis, expensive French oak, blackberry nose; tasty, tight, blackberry, tart berry, structured palate; needs 3-plus years; medium-plus finish (36 mos. in French oak) (93 pts.)
  • 2009 Veedercrest Chardonnay – USA, California, North Coast
    Light lemon yellow color; poised, tart lemon, light reduction, tart apple nose; tasty, creamy textured, tart apple, lime cream, mineral palate; needs 1-2 years; medium-plus finish 91+ points (91 pts.)

Vinoce

Vinoce is owned by Brian and Lori Nuss, who planted the vineyard in 1990. They have a total of 11 vineyard blocks with south facing exposures, and two distinct sections of the vineyard, ranging from 1600 to over 2100 feet elevation. The upper block’s eight acres are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The lower 16 acres are planted to Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They claim that picking can take up to two months as they aim for only perfectly ripe berries with each pass. Both of these were terrific wines, especially the very appealing 2008 Cabernet.
0911 026

  • 2007 Vinoce Proprietary Red – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Very dark red violet color; rich, intriguing, deep berry, ripe currant nose with a touch of menthol; tasty, poised, tart currant, tart berry, light menthol palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2008 Vinoce Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; appealing, deep berry, violet, lavender nose; tasty, plush, poised, tart blackberry, violet palate; needs 2-plus years; medium-plus finish (93 pts.)

Y Rousseau

0911 020

  • 2009 Y Rousseau Chardonnay Milady – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Light yellow color; nice lemon cream, apple nose; creamy textured, lemon cream, light peach palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points (no malo, lees stirring, 20% new French oak) (91 pts.)

Yates Family

The Yates Family Vineyard is located at the southern end of the Mayacamas Mountain Range in the Mount Veeder Appellation. The vineyard site has been continuously farmed since the late 1800’s. The Yates family purchased the ranch in 1950. They have been supplying local wineries with their mountain fruit and making wine for family and friends. In 1999, Michael Yates decided to make his wine commercially and began his Napa Redwoods Estate label. In 2005, with both of their daughters involved in the project, the Yates decided to change the name to Yates Family Vineyard. The winery and 35-acre vineyard are staffed by Mike and Lynn’s two daughters, Whitney and Mary, and son-in-law Todd Jones. Michael and Whitney are the co-winemakers. Whitney is studying enology through U.C. Davis online studies to receive her winemaking certificate. Michael is clearly inspired by St. Emilion wines, and the ’08 Merlot Fleur de Veeder was particularly impressive.
0911 018
Mike and Lynn Yates

  • 2008 Yates Family Vineyard Merlot Fleur de Veeder – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; appealing, deep blackberry, berry, black fruit nose; tasty, ripe berry, blackberry, caramel palate with character; medium-plus finish (with 12% Cabernet Franc) (93 pts.)
  • 2008 Yates Family Vineyard Cabernet Franc Cheval – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark ruby color; appealing, ripe boysenberry, cream nose; tasty, plush, boysenberry, berry palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points (92 pts.)
  • 2007 Yates Family Vineyard Alden Perry Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder
    Dark purple red violet color; intriguing, light brett, tart currant nose; brett, tart currant, tart plum palate; medium finish (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Francl; aged 18 months in French oak, 25% new) (90 pts.)
This entry was posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Syrah, Winemakers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Fabulous Terroir and Impressive Wines: Mt. Veeder Appellation Tasting

  1. Mark Hollr says:

    Great Article and photos of all the winemakers.

  2. t-bo says:

    Sorry, I don’t see the photos.

    • Richard Jennings says:

      t-bo,
      The photos on a lot of my older posts disappeared when my photo hosting service of 10 years, Webshots, suddenly decided to get out of the business recently. I’m slowly restoring those pictures here–it’s a slow and tedious effort and will take several months, as they have to all be reuploaded to my new hosting site and then individually placed in each post again. But since you ask, I’ve restored the photos on this post today (which is timely, with a the Mt. Veeder tasting coming up again next month).
      warm regards,
      Richard

Comments are closed.