Dark ruby in color with an exotic nose of black cherry, black currants, blackberries, spice edged with cedar. Rich complex, clean and fresh, with fine flavors of black cherry, spicy currants, hinting of spice and mint, with a delightful dusty nuance. The fruity finish is cherry and berry etched. Lush fruit and balanced tannins.
"Tight, tart and compact, but rich in flavor, with crisp, stemmy black cherry and wild-berry flavors. Turns firmly tannic, with an oaky, earthy aftertaste. Needs time. Best from 2004 through 2014." Wine Spectator
November 15, 2000
Diamond Creek Winery
Diamond Creek, California's first "Cabernet only" estate vineyard, was established in 1968. Visionary pioneer, Al Brounstein, defied modern convention and planted Bordeaux varietals on secluded Diamond Mountain. The three distinct soil types on theis 20-acre property produce different single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. Light ash soild of Volcanic Hill is in sharp contrast to the iron-rich Red Rock Terrace and the pebbly Gravelly Meadow. Each year, the estate produces a small amount of long-lived wines that are revered by connoisseurs the world over.
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.