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Wine | Mount Veeder Red Blend: What a Little Elevation Can Do

Posted on: April 17th, 2018 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

When exploring Napa Valley, California, one of the best little side trips for the morning is to drive up Mount Veeder and visit the winery operations that cling to the hills at about 1,600 feet.  This is an environment that is noticeably different from the valley floor below, and it also reflects in the wines.

Mount Veeder Red Blend_ What a Little Elevation Can DoIn the middle of last year, Mount Veeder Winery released their 2014 vintage Reserve Red Blend.  And what a year 2014 was; but be prepared for the differences that a little elevation can bring to this vintage.

While many of the 2014 Napa Valley red wines were emboldened by the dry weather conditions, Mount Veeder’s special micro-climate enhanced the effect.  The result is a journey into dark berries and spices that many will notice as being not-so-typical Napa.

It all starts with a trace of tobacco and anise in the bouquet that gradually gives way black currant and blackberries.  This gradual change in the bouquet continues to become nicely rounded as the wine opens up and revels traces of earthy pepper.  Mountain character for sure, spice and dark fruit.

On the palate, the black currant starts in immediately with peppercorns and white pepper, but in a structured way that promises many more years in the wine rack for development.  However, the hallmark that puts this wine in the top shelf category is its intricately woven balance between tannins and acidity.

As it finishes, there is a controlled refined softness that plays right along with a gradual fade to white pepper and vanilla.  Obviously, this reserve red blend has many more years left to express itself.

If you like this type of character and tend to save special wines for special occasions, this is your pick.  In 8-12 years this could be one of the more interesting bottles to open.  So, if you want to remember 2014 for some reason, lay this one down for that anniversary.

Plan on spending over $70 for the reserve blend online or you can also try their regular Cabernet for about $30 at many valley stores.  If you can find a 2014 Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet, this may be a good way to evaluate its style before investing any more on the reserve.

As for the pairing suggestion, it’s simple.  Grill up some steaks, get some fully loaded baked potatoes, and add green beans.  Then sit down and savor the contrast between this wine and a top shelf 2014 Napa wine like Joseph Phelps, Titus, Silver Oak, or Frank Family.

Serve after 20-30 minutes in the fridge (60-65 degrees).  A slight chilling will enhance the bouquet’s delayed opening and also allow the pepperiness to develop more gradually in the glass.

About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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