Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Full-bodied, loaded with intense ripe berry fruit, cassis, violets, and a smoky richness, finishing with good length and firm tannins.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
As the 2016 Diamond Creek cabernets emerge from several years of rest in barrels and bottles, it’s Volcanic Hill that shows the best and brightest. “There’s a volcanic-soil character adding texture to the palate, with less grape and oak tannins and more minerality” said Ryan Bailey of *NoMad LA†, comparing it to the other top cabernets of the tasting. It’s an elegant vintage of Volcanic Hill, a cabernet of high-intensity fruit that calms to cool red- and black-currant generosity. Crushed-mineral tannins seem to clarify the fruit, bringing out the light and air in the wine, so that it ends on an impression of blue skies.
Although showing the first signs of polish that indelibly marks it as in the same family as its two partners, the Volcanic Hill bottling is a bit sturdier overall with a little more sinew under its flesh. It is not overly tough or tannic, however, just slightly firmer in build, and it comes with a full complement of continuous, very keenly defined, classic Cabernet fruit along with just the right touch of sweet oak and subtle suggestions of stony soil. It, too, gets high marks for its balance and careful proportion, and, if warranting a wait of no less than five years, it is guaranteed to only impress more if held for ten.
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.