Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Diamond Creek's second coolest micro-climate is the five-acre Gravelly Meadow vineyard. Originally a pre-historic river bed, this stony, gravelly soil drains rapidly and the vines struggle for moisture.
Gravelly Meadow is the winery's lowest yielding vineyard. The wines are described as "earthy, cedary, jammy and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish."
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Planted on a gravel wash along the south bank of Diamond Creek in 1968, the vines at Gravelly Meadow took a while to get established. Phil Steinschriber made this wine from the concentrated yields of those old, thick-trunked beasts. In 2015, the wine feels as thick as those trunks, black fruited and rich. There’s grip to the tannins and some volatility adding a bruised-fruit note to the finish, youthfully intense, needing bottle age to mellow and integrate.
Diamond Mountain is the northernmost mountain appellation in the Mayacamas Range, on the northwest side of the valley floor, above the town of Calistoga. Defined mainly by elevation, vineyards are planted at 400 to 2,200 feet.
Diamond Mountain vineyards receive plenty of sunshine at these elevations and are typically above the coastal fog line. But given its western proximity, the area still easily cools down from early morning and late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes. The AVA (American Viticultural Area) covers 5,000 acres but just over 500 acres are under vine.
Diamond Mountain soils, mainly weathered, red sedimentary rock and decomposed, volcanic ash, are infertile, quick-draining and produce small, thick-skinned grapes, bursting with chewy tannins.
Like other sub-appellations in Napa Valley, the Diamond Mountain area had no shortage of pioneer winemakers. Rudy von Strasser led the effort for Diamond Mountain to acquire AVA status in 1999.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.