The Mt. Veeder AVA is one of the coolest of Napa Valley's mountain AVAs and the rugged mountain terrain of this AVA results in low grape yields and high ageability of its wines.
The Mount Veeder AVA is a sub-appellation of the Napa Valley AVA and is located in Napa Valley, California, on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Range that separates Napa Valley and the Sonoma Valley. Because of its proximity to San Pablo Bay and its steep, mostly east-facing slopes which enjoy the gentle morning sun, Mt. Veeder is the coolest of Napa Valley's mountain AVAs. Therefore, the Cabernets tend to be very high in tannin and acidity and are capable of great age. Many Mt. Veeder Cabernets also feature a distinct mintiness.
This is one of Napa Valley’s largest AVAs yet is one of the least planted, due in large part to the extreme cragginess of the terrain. The few locations genial enough to host vineyards tend to be rather small in size, so Mount Veeder is mostly home to small-scale artisan operations. Mount Veeder’s soils are a complex jumble of substrates (Franciscan Mélange), with only the rare pocket of volcanic material.
The Mount Veeder AVA is named after the Reverend Peter V. Veeder, who was a Presbyterian pastor in the 1850's. The exact date when his name was applied to the area is unknown, although the name Mount Veeder is mentioned in "The History of Napa and Lake Counties", published in 1881. Mount Veeder is the most prominent peak in the area at over 2677 feet elevation and has been acknowledged as a significant wine producing area since the 1870's . The first winery in the area was built by John Hein in 1880 and six other wineries were known to exist in the area by the mid 1880's.
Wine production in the Mount Veeder area was significantly diminished with the onset of Phylloxera in the late 1880's and while some small scale winegrowing remained, many of those producers later converted to grape juice, or were closed by the passing of Prohibition in 1920. One of the only wine producers allowed to continue production during Prohibition was the Christian Brothers, or "Brothers of the Christian Schools", a religious Catholic group devoted to education. The Christian Brothers produced Altar Wines, or wines made specifically for use as Communion wine and intended for use as part of the celebration of the Eucharist. However, after the passing of the 21st Amendment in 1933, the Christian Brothers began making table wines as well, from their Mont LaSalle winery on Mount Veeder.
Since prohibition, wine production in the Mount Veeder AVA has continued to grow, with over 1000 acres of land planted with grapevines and over 35 vintners producing wine. Mount Veeder was officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1993.
"The Mount Veeder AVA encompasses a large area but it is so rugged that the vineyards are mostly small and isolated, constituting a patchwork when viewed from above. Mount Veeder combines the shallow soil of its mountain location with the cool marine air flowing up from the nearby San Pablo Bay, a combination that yields small berries of concentrated complexity."
- Carole Meredith, Lagier Meredith Vineyard
Opaque purple with ruby highlights.
Dense nose with blackberry and violet
aromas and undercurrents of cherry,
fresh leather and sage. Accompanying
flavors of black fruit and black pepper
with just a hint of sage. Firm and broad
on the palate, intense yet not weighty
and with hallmark Mount Veeder tannins
in full effect. Excellent grip and finish
with long lingering flavors of black
Alpha Omega’s Drew Vineyard takes its name from George Drew, who first purchased this property in 1889. Realizing the amazing potential of this vineyard, Alpha Omega acquired the property in 2015. At an altitude of 1,500 feet, this cool-climate site in the Mount Veeder AVA boasts well- drained, rocky soils producing smaller berries high in natural acidity and tannins.
VGS Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Mount Veeder, Napa Valley
The 2009 Mount Veeder Cabernet has expressive, mountain-bred flavors of crushed berry, cassis and plum, punctuated by bright herbal notes and cedar. Store at cellar temperature and enjoy over the next three to five years with a variety of foods, especially well-seasoned or spicy meat dishes, stews and casseroles. The wine has just enough latter-palate tannins to suggest it will only get better with time.