Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
The 2018 growing season started with late winter rains then a spring marked with intermittent cloudy skies likely delayed bud-break and flowering, which was then followed by ideal fruit set conditions, driving up overall volumes by 20 – 30%.Steady summer heat accumulation with only a couple of short hike spikes combined with a near-perfect fall season created great phenolic accumulation without high sugar concentration. Grown on the rocky slopes of Mt. Veeder, the 2018 is mountain Cabernet at its finest. Aromas of blue and red fruits intermingle with a touch of baking spice. The tannins are firm yet refined while the weight on the palate is dense and lush. Compelling now, one can only imagine its true cellaring potential.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Brave is fabulous. Inky, rich and explosive, the 2018 possesses tremendous depth and tons of personality. Graphite, blue/purplish fruit, blackberry jam, bittersweet chocolate, sage, lavender, menthol give the 2018 tons of character to match its explosive feel. The brooding, backward wine is going to need quite a bit of time to unwind, but boy is it gorgeous.
A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 1.5% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder was aged for 22 months in oak barrels, 82% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it springs from the glass with vibrant crème de cassis, baked plums and Morello cherries scents, followed by nuances of sautéed herbs, clove oil, mocha and scorched earth. The full-bodied palate is densely laden with layers of black and blue fruits, sporting a rock-solid backbone of grainy tannins and great tension, finishing long and minerally. Rating: 95+
Blackberry and chili with hints of cloves and graphite. Bitter chocolate, too. Full-bodied, very linear and tight with intense tannins that lead you down the finish. Solid structure. Needs four or five years to open up. Better after 2025.
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.