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Jade Mountain Mt. Veeder Paras Vineyard Viognier 2003

Viognier from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    Our Viognier does not fit any usual description, as it is overbuilt in all categories, yet manages to be well balanced. The grapes are so rich and tasty that we do not need to blend in any other varietal, preferring to let this mountain-grown Viognier shine by itself. The wine is aged in mostly neutral French barrels to gain roundness and complexity, without adding oak to the nose. The fruit oozes out like syrup and clings to the tongue with butterscotch, gardenias, honeysuckle, honeydew melon and white peach with a hint of white pepper spice.

    Set on top of Mount Veeder, overlooking Napa Valley, Paras Vineyard is a unique site. The vineyard is made up of shale in various fractured states with little actual soil. The vines are carefully trellised and closely hedged, forcing them to struggle and compete for water and nutrients. The vineyard location creates a steep northeast-facing slope for the Viognier, away from the direct sun. These steeply terraced rows and rocky soils keep the yields small and the flavor concentration high.

    Budbreak in 2003 was a little later than normal, so March heat and April rain did not affect quality. Flavors were late in developing, and considerable shrivel occurred before the distinctive ethereal yet powerful Jade Mountain Viognier character kicked in mid October.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Jade Mountain

    Jade Mountain

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    Jade Mountain, Napa Valley, California
    Since 1988, Jade Mountain has been a pioneer in the production of Rhône-style California wines. The winery was founded with the belief that carefully chosen California vineyard sites planted to Rhône grape varieties can achieve quality on a par with the best from France and Australia.

    Paras Vineyard, Jade Mountain's flagship vineyard, rests on the upper slopes of Mount Veeder, overlooking the Napa Valley. With rocky vine terraces and eastern exposures reminiscent of the finest Northern Rhône vineyards, Paras Vineyard grows Syrah and other Rhône grapes of truly exciting quality. From this and other select vineyards, Jade Mountain creates Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier and a proprietary southern Rhône-style blend called La Provençale

    Jade Mountain uses only the highest-quality grapes and practices traditional winemaking techniques to produce wines displaying intense fruit and spice and silky smoothness on the palate. These wines are appealing in their youth as well as eminently age-worthy.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

    The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Viognier

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    Full-figured and reminiscent of a potent floral perfume, Viognier is the mandatory grape of the northern Rhône appellation Condrieu and neighboring monopole (an entire appellation dedicated to just one winery) Château Grillet. It is also a blending variety in several appellations throughout the entire Rhône Valley. Viognier is grown throughout much of the world with some degree of success, but is perhaps at its best outside of France in Oregon, Washington, and cooler parts of Australia, where minerality and acidity can be achieved to give the wine the backbone it can sometimes lack.

    In the Glass

    This is a heady, aromatic variety making rich, complex, and full-bodied white wines redolent of a floral bouquet and assorted stone fruits and tropical fruits, with a hint of spice not unlike that of Gewürztraminer. It is lower in acidity than most white wines, lending to its heavy impression on the palate. While a whiff of Viognier might suggest sweet flavors, these wines are typically quite dry.

    Perfect Pairings

    Viognier is an intense, bold variety that can easily stand up to gutsy food like pork loin with apricot stuffing, chicken Kiev, or rich, spicy fare.

    Sommelier Secret

    While Viognier is a white grape, it also plays an important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône, made otherwise from Syrah. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.

    PIM08265_2003 Item# 83519