Let's Talk About "Diamond Mountain"

May 21, 2018 1 Comment

Let's Talk About

Let’s talk about terroir 

Perhaps one of the most important words you never learned in high school French class, terroir is defined as all the environmental factors affecting the growth of the grape. It is one of the most important factors affecting how a wine tastes, second only, perhaps, to the type of grape itself.

Napa is not just one homogenous valley, but is a veritable cornucopia of growing conditions, comprised of complex topographical variations, numerous different soil types, a reasonably large spectrum of temperatures, and even multiple microclimates within relatively small geographical regions. 

Because of this, in 1981, during the early years of winemaking in California, certain regions with similar growing characteristics within Napa valley were identified. These were termed “American Viticultural Areas”, or AVAs, which are set by the Federal Government, and allow us to further specify where a wine is from.  As consumers, knowing the AVA a wine hails from can help us have an idea of what qualities a wine may possess, even if we haven’t actually tried the wine before.  Currently, there are 16 recognized AVA in Napa Valley. One of these AVA’s, and the subject of this post, is the Diamond Mountain District AVA.  

Let’s talk about Diamond Mountain

Located at the far North end of Napa Valley, high above the city of Calistoga to the West, Diamond Mountain vines grow in porous volcanic soil, which allows the grapes to cool quickly at the end of the day and develop rich, complex flavors.

Wines from Diamond Mountain District are often described using words like “firm”, or “structured”, and are known to be somewhat tannic when they are in their youth. For this reason, many of the wines are barrel and/or bottle-aged longer than their counterpart wines from grapes grown on the Valley Floor - where tannins are often less – before they are released to the public for consumption.  While the stronger presence of tannins may require some extra decanting and aeration if you want to enjoy the wines young, they generally offer significantly longer aging potential in the long run.

There are only 11 wineries on Diamond Mountain, many of them with hard-to-find wines with “cult” status.  These so-called “cult” wines are wines that have built a devoted following of wine connoisseurs over the years by consistently producing wines of extraordinary quality but in limited quantities.  It is precisely because of this status that – in years of abundance – it is important for wine makers to sell any extra wine made to the “bulk” market.  This allows them to maintain a relative scarcity of their wine label and continue to command top-dollar prices. Learn more about wine prices.

Some Notes on Our Diamond Mountain Wines   

You’ve purchased your cult wine at a significant discount through yours-truly and now you want to enjoy it the right way, right?  Here are a few tips to maximize the enjoyment of your Diamond Mountain District wines:

  1. Use the right glass.  You wouldn’t buy an exotic sports car and put budget tires on it, so don’t drink expensive wine out of cheap glassware!  Specifically, make sure the glass has a large enough bowl (the term for the part of the glass that actually holds the wine) to hold a 5-6 oz. pour and still have enough room to swirl it around and trap the aromas inside.  We'll definitely judge you if you pour it in to a tiny bistro glass or – Heaven forbid – a Red Solo cup. 
  2. Give it some time.  Certain wines - like our Cab Sauv - will age nicely in a cool cellar for a year or more. As we mentioned, some Diamond Mt. wines actually need some time to lay down, mellow out and develop their unique characteristics. Of course, we understand that waiting is the hardest part, so we try to deliver a product that is already dressed to impress. That said, we still recommend that you wait 1-2 weeks after receiving it to allow it to recover from the shipping process. This will actually make a big difference – trust us! 
  3. Give it some air. A big wine, like a Cab Sauv, will improve noticeably and significantly after it’s opened and exposed to the air. This can be accomplished by either pouring the wine into a decanter and letting it set for 1-2 hours, or by being poured directly into a rapid aerator (such as a Vinturi) in to your (amply sized) wine glass. I’m actually a big fan of doing both:  pouring the wine through the aerator in to a decanter and letting it rest for an hour or two.

On that note, we hope you thoroughly enjoy our Diamond Mountain District wines!

Cheers,

-Lance & Spence // Brian & Becky




1 Response

Scott Armstrong
Scott Armstrong

December 26, 2016

Brian gave me a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for Christmas. We thoroughly enjoyed it while having a prime rib roast for Christmas dinner. What a treat! My daughter, somewhat of a wine connoisseur, said it was one of the best wines she ever tasted. Her only issue with the wine is that I only had one bottle. I won’t make that mistake again. I am looking forward to the first bottles of the Claudine Zefindal.

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