Napa Valley with Altitude Trade Tasting (Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain and Diamond Mountain wines)

Officers' Club, Fort Mason, San Francisco
Tasted Thursday, April 23, 2009 by Richard Jennings with 1,565 views


This was a trade tasting event spotlighting Napa wineries producing wines from 3 higher altitude appellations: Diamond Mountain, Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain. Over 30 producers were represented, and I tasted through over 90 wines.

Several of these wineries were new to me, and a few of those produced wines that I thought were quite impressive: Kiss Ridge, Rubissow, Vinoce and Yates Family. Kiss Ridge is a very limited production Cabernet Sauvignon wine produced from a 40-year-old vineyard on Diamond Mountain. Rubissow was formerly known as Rubissow-Sargent, and they produce single vineyard Merlot, Cabernet and a Meritage (called Trompettes) from grapes grown on the 45-acre Rubissow estate on the southern hillsides of Mt. Veeder. I thought their '04 Reserve Cabernet was one of the best 2 or 3 wines of the entire tasting. Vinoce is a small family operation growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot on Mt. Veeder hillsides. Yates Family Vineyard was operated until 2005 as Napa Redwoods Estate, and they are producing Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on their property in the hills between Sonoma and Napa in the Mt. Veeder appellation.

I was also very impressed with wines from the following more familiar wineries: Diamond Terrace, Hess Collection, Marston, O'Shaugnessy, Robert Craig and Spring Mountain Vineyard.

Flight 1 - Spring Mountain Wineries (33 Notes)

Spring Mountain appellation was represented by the largest number of wines at this tasting. The best, for me, were the Marston '05 Cabernet, Spring Mountain Vineyard's '04 Elviette, and a barrel sample of Vineyard 7 & 8's 2007 Estate Cabernet. I also liked Merlots from Barnett Vineyards, Keenan, Newton and Paloma.

Flight 2 - Mount Veeder Wineries (42 Notes)

As mentioned above, Rubissow was a new find for me, and I found their whole line up to be strong, especially the '04 Reserve Cab and the '04 Trompettes. The Hess Collection also had a strong line up across the board, including their very small production '06 Malbec, the '06 19 Block Cuvee, and the '05 and '06 Cabernets. The single wines poured by O'Shaugnessy and Vinoce were excellent, both '05 Cabernets. An '03 mag of Robert Craig Cabernet was also delicious. And from the Yates Family, I particularly liked the '05 Alden Perry Reserve (a meritage), the 100% Merlot called '05 Fleur de Veeder, and the 100% Cabernet Franc '05 Cheval.

Peter Rubissow (rt) and winemaker Timothy Milos
Yates Family reps

Flight 3 - Diamond Mountain Wineries (18 Notes)

Diamond Mountain was represented by the smallest number of producers, but the Diamond Terrace '05 and '99 Cabernets were quite good, as was the '04 Kiss Ridge mentioned above.