Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Earthy, cedary, jammy, and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish.
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Slightly more open than either of its two mates at this point and very arguably the most polished of the bunch, this year’s Gravelly Meadow is a Cabernet of considerable depth and refinement with abundant cassis and black cherry fruit neatly teamed with deftly fit oak. Despite being fairly supple in feel and relatively easy to taste at the moment, it is has the stamina to age famously, and, if likely to reach its peak a bit sooner than its Red Rock Terrace sibling, it very much deserves to be laid away and allowed to reach its full, multi-layered potential some six to ten years in the future.
From a five-acre section of the vineyard, this classic red is blended with 8% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Crushed rock, red fruit and warm baking spices combine around a grippy midpalate of leather, clove and tobacco—the power gracefully persistent. The finish is brambly and bright. Allow this youthful wine to age; enjoy best from 2026–2031.
New oak gives this wine an initial blush of sweetness, but as the flavors open up, the impression is completely savory. This grows in a gravel wash on the south bank of Diamond Creek, a cool site tucked into a manzanita grove. In 2016, the vines were closing in on 50 years, and the wine they offered evokes roses, soil and manzanita bark more than any direct fruit. There’s a black olive tone to preface what fruit will emerge with bottle age; as for now, the wine feels youthful and restrained.
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, Malbecand 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.