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.
Anthem Winery and Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Justin and Julie Arbuckle formed Anthem Winery in 2009 with the simple goal of producing the highest quality wines from “vine to bottle.” This top-notch wine is garnet, almost purple in the glass with aromas of dark fruits, red plum and a whiff of wet river rock. Soft on entry, there is a bright fruit acidity and soft tannins followed by flavors of black raspberry, pencil lead, cedar shavings and black plum.
Ashes & Diamonds 2018 Saffron Vineyard Mountain Cuvée Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Fruit for this gratifying blend come from Lisa Chu’s organically farmed Mount Veeder vineyard, located at an altitude of 1,500 feet, where she grows Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is garnet colored in the glass and has aromas of crushed violets, dark fruits and graphite with flavors of black raspberry, black cherry and a touch of saddle leather. The tannins are pleasantly grippy and the finish goes on and on.
Brandlin 2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Brandlin Estate consists of 49 acres of Napa Green Certified vineyards situated at altitudes of 900 to 1,250 feet on Mount Veeder. Aromas of blackberry, Earl Grey tea and black plum pull you into the glass where you find flavors of boysenberry, cinnamon, black currant and black olive tapenade. The tannins are voluptuous and rounded and the finish seems to never stop.
Taub Family Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
The Taub family took their stake in the wine and spirits industry just days after the repeal of Prohibition, and today owner Marc Taub and his son Jake run the company. Their Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from the Barchuk Vineyard on Mount Veeder is dark, inky purple with aromas of cigar box, ripe black fruits and dried Mediterranean herbs. Silky tannins pave the way for flavors of black raspberry, black plum, tobacco and saddle leather. This captivating wine has an elegant finish with notes of brown baking spices and forest floor.
The Hess Collection 2016 The Lion Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Donald Hess, the founder of the Hess Collection, was known for saying “Nurture the land, return what you take.” To this end, Hess Collection’s Mount Veeder estate vineyards are sustainably farmed. This stately wine, The Lion, is named for Donald’s bold and persevering nature. It is ruby garnet colored with aromas of vanilla, black currant, forest floor and cocoa powder. Bright at first sip, it has flavors of blackberry, black plum and cassis. The tannins are well structured and rounded and there is a pleasant splash of acidity in the long finish.
Newton Vineyard 2017 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Grapes for this refined Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from vineyards planted at altitudes between 750 and 1,250 feet. When the property was first purchased, these vineyards were planted with Champagne varieties used to make California sparkling wine; over time they have been converted to Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is dark ruby-garnet in color with aromas of black raspberries, cassis, pencil shavings and saddle leather. It has a firm tannic backbone and flavors of ripe black fruits, graphite and just sliced Cremini mushrooms with an impressively long finish.
VGS 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Owner and founder Jean-Noel Fourmeaux was sent by his Bordeaux family in 1980 to learn about American winemaking and after a few months he sent them a telegram saying, “Looks good, I stay.” He was impressed by the generosity of grapes grown in Napa Valley and his 2018 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon can easily be called impressive. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, it has aromas of cedar, dried Mediterranean herbs, tobacco and ripe black fruits. In the mouth there are flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, and cassis with firm tannins and a long, long finish. Only 550 cases produced.
Fontanella Family Winery 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Jeff Fontanella originally wanted to pursue a career in medicine at UC Davis but a course in winemaking changed his career trajectory. This wine produced in 2019 represents his 12th harvest. It is ink colored in the glass with aromas of ripe black and red berries, blueberry cobbler, graphite and wet slate. On the palate there are flavors of cassis, raspberry, black plum, cedar and bramble. The tannins are soft and rounded and the finish is long and elegant.
Mi Sueño 2019 Lynne’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for this delicious wine are grown in Lynne’s Vineyard, perched at 900 to 1,200 feet on Mount Veeder. The soils are composed of mostly gravel and small rocks that provide excellent drainage along with some clay which is extremely useful for the retention of rainwater. The wine is inky colored with aromas of sandalwood, black cherry, vanilla and crushed purple flowers. In the mouth there are flavors of rich dark fruits with a bold tannic structure accented by mocha, roasted hazelnuts and a touch of saddle leather. There’s a splash of bright acidity before the persistent finish.