Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
#68 of Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2020
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is powerful and opulent but maintains an underlying thread of pure finesse. Blackberries and spice jump from the glass followed by secondary notes of dark chocolate and anise. Perfectly balanced acidity leads to a long, memorable finish. Beguiling now, the 2017 will charm your cellar for years to come.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Densely built in cassis, dried herb, cedar and sage, this lovely wine from the great appellation shows structure and grip in its youth. Dusty gravel adds to the weight and texture, with ample acidity to keep it fresh in the glass.
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is a richer, broader, more concentrated wine, yet it also has a serious amount of tannins. Lots of dark chocolate, blackcurrant, forest floor, and espresso notes all emerge from this full-bodied, concentrated, impressive effort that’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and have 20+ years of longevity. The blend is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% each of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.
Extremely pure fruit with blueberries and blackcurrants. Lavender, too. Full body. Stony and slightly austere tannins, but real mountain character.
Mt. Brave is a tribute to the pioneering spirit of those who settled the rugged terrain of Mt. Veeder during the 1800s and an homage to the Wappo Indians, "the brave ones," who were the original inhabitants of this extraordinary place. The Mt. Brave Vineyard, once the Chateau Potelle Vineyard, was established decades ago at elevations ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 feet. While Mt. Veeder is cool, Mt. Brave sits above the fog line, with morning sun warming the grapes each day. Soils are a sparse, gravelly loam. Nutrients and minerals are scant, resulting in tiny berries with concentrated and complex flavors. At harvest, small lug boxes must be carefully moved up and down the steep slopes to protect both vines and vineyard workers.
Centered at the peak for which it is named, Mount Veeder is Napa’s largest sub-AVA. But even though the entire appellation spreads over 16,000 acres, vineyards cover a mere 1,000. Scattered among Douglas firs and bristlecone pines, Mount Veeder vineyards extend south from the upper elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains—the highest point at 2,400 feet—to the border of the Carneros region. Less than 25 wineries produce wine from Mount Veeder fruit.
Winemaking began early in this appellation. In 1864, Captain Stelham Wing presented the first Mount Veeder wine to the Napa County Fair; it came from today’s Wing Canyon Vineyard. Prohibition, of course, halted winemaking and viticulture wasn’t revitalized until the founding of Mayacamas Vineyards in 1951 and Bernstein Vineyards in 1964.
The Bernstein Vineyards was actually home to the first Petit Verdot in California, planted in 1975. Today most of the Petit Verdot in Napa Valley originates from this vineyard.
Rocky volcanic clay and ancient seabed matter dominate Mount Veeder soils—perfect for Bordeaux varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot enjoy spectacular success. These varieties produce wines rich in brambly blackberry and black cherry fruit with herbal and floral aromatics. Structures are moderate to assertive and wines have great staying power.
Chardonnay from Mount Veeder is lush, full and balanced mineral and fresh citrus flavors.
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.