Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Earthy, cedary, jammy and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very classic Gravelly on the nose with plums, currants and hot stones, as well as spices. Medium body, ultra-fine tannins and a beautiful, delicious finish. Purity and finesse. Drink or hold.
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow is ample and full in feel. Dark fruit, scorched earth, licorice, chocolate, spice, leather and menthol fill out the layers effortlessly. Somber and brooding, the Gravelly Meadow has a lot going on. It clearly needs time to be at its best. Firm hillside tannins add to a feeling of gravitas. There is real weight and substance here. Drinking window: 2024 - 2037
Through hardly a wine that we would describe as being restrained, Diamond Creek’s potent, youthfully hemmedin Gravelly Meadow bottling is somewhat tighter and slightly grittier at this point than either of its two 2017 mates. It suffers no shortage of very deep and authoritative varietal fruit and teases with nascent complexity, but even more than either, it demands extended cellaring. Six to ten years seem the bare minimum here, and we do not expect this one to start reaching full stride for closer to twelve or fifteen. The Diamond Creek bunch is, as usual, built for the long haul, and, as usual, these are wines that can be cellared with absolute confidence.
Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Gravelly Meadow sashays out of the glass with opulent scents of crème de cassis, preserved plums and red currant jelly with hints of Chinese five spice, candied violets and beef drippings plus a waft of chocolate mint. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals a good concentration of red and black fruit preserves, while the tannins are just a little rugged with a chewy/stewed texture. It is a little hard and charred on the back palate/finish. The blend this year is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc. It was aged for 22 months in French oak, 100% new.
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.
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.