Deep ruby color; dark cherry, plum, cassis, fig, meat hints on the nose; black cherry, black currant, blackberry, spice, mocha on the palate.
Dry; velvety smooth, juicy, subtle, nuanced, black fruit-forward. Blend of 86% cabernet sauvignon, 9% merlot, 3% malbec, 2% petit verdot. This vintage—unlike previous ones—is not aggressive cabernet sauvignon, and it is tempered more by the blend. Mount Veeder claims complexity—the website likens it to three-dimension chessboard. Well, maybe.
For my palate, this is simple, straightforward, dark fruit wine, with dry but not assertive tannins. There is marginal complexity and depth. There is plenty of delicious black fruit, which certainly counts for something. I can easily see folks enchanted by straightforward, non-confrontational red blends slurping this down with joy in their hearts and pleasure on their palate; 14.5% ABV.
The simplicity of Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon should not be taken as criticism. I think that winemaker Janet Myers’s creation easily fits into a niche of cab-led blends that please coy palates put off by insistently vigorous vino. This is wine you can confidently pour for people panicked by massively emphatic red wine pours.
Mount Veeder winemakers consider their place special. Janet Meyers: “Mount Veeder is a magical place—a rare and beautiful spot where vines cling to the steep hillsides, producing tiny, concentrated berries that give our wines their big, bold, brambly fruit character.”
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.
The debut wine from Mount Veeder Winery was the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon. Since that first vintage, Mount Veeder Winery has expanded to three vineyard ranches nestled high in the Mayacamas Mountains and continues to produce powerful, bold wines that are a true expression of this unique wine-growing region.
Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 has reserved boldness, plenty of ripe black fruit; relatively simple, somewhat one-dimensional effort this vintage that should be enjoyed by those who are cowed by commanding cabs. Pair with the usual suspects for California cabs—rich red meats, steaks, beef stews. $60-75 (1.5 L)