Images Courtesy of Suzanne Becker Bronk
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
Grown in volcanic rock and gravelly loam soils, our steep vineyard atop Mount Veeder is at an elevation of 1,500 feet. The mountain climate and well-drained soils yield few grape clusters with small, dark-skinned berries, resulting in densely structured wine with bold, black fruit and complex mineral flavors.
True to the Mount Veeder appellation, this wine exhibits dark concentrated fruit flavors of mountain blueberry and black raspberry and well-integrated fine-grained tannins with excellent mountain acidity. Big, bold, and ultra-ripe on the attack, packed with small black-fruit preserves, doused with crème de cassis.
The Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is made with fruit sourced from several vineyard sites in the Mount Veeder appellation, and is made exclusively for Frank Family's wine club members.
The 2012 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is a precise and powerful representation of our Mount Veeder estate. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine is opaque purple in color with deeply perfumed aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, rum raisin, espresso and brown sugar. On the palate this wine shows layers of dense berry preserves, exotic cola and smoked meat flavors intermixed with tar and rich toast to create a compelling wine that lingers in the mouth for several minutes. This is a richly textured and intense mountain wine that is rewarding upon release and will continue to evolve with cellaring.