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9 Stellar Red Wines From Napa Valley’s Coolest Mountain Region

A guide to the fresh and elegant Cabs and red blends of the AVA.

Mount Veeder Napa Valley Red Wines The Hess Collection, Fontanella Family Winery, Taub Family Vineyards

With some of the highest vineyards in Napa Valley, Mount Veeder is said to be the coldest AVA in the region. Set into the Mayacamas Mountain range near downtown Napa and Yountville, it has the highest vineyards in the valley, up to 2,600 feet above sea level. It also benefits from the cooling breezes of nearby San Pablo Bay. This combination helps grapes grown here to retain their acidity, resulting in wines exhibiting freshness and elegance. Steep hillsides offer access to direct sunlight and improved conditions for drainage, two important factors in grape cultivation.

While Mount Veeder is one of Napa’s largest AVAs, it has one of the lowest concentrations of vineyards, most of which must be cared for and harvested by hand thanks to the rugged topography. Named for Reverend Peter Veeder, who was a local Presbyterian pastor in the 1850s, the mountain’s winemaking history began after the California Gold Rush, when grapes were planted by German immigrants. Recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1993, Mount Veeder has 50 member growers and producers making wine from its 1,000 acres of vineyards.

Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 64 percent of the grapes grown here, but a wide range of varieties abounds, including favorites like Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel and unexpected finds such as Carignan and Mourvèdre. Of course, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot thrive here as well, for inclusion in blends and interesting small-scale single varietal bottlings. Red grapes grown here, especially the traditional “Bordeaux” varieties, are known for bold, dark berry flavors, moderate to strong tannins, and soft floral notes. Here are nine Cabs and blends from Mount Veeder that will help you to appreciate all that this elevated region has to offer.

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