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:
On that note, we hope you thoroughly enjoy our Diamond Mountain District wines!
-Lance & Spence // Brian & Becky
As the recipient of many well-intentioned but unused wine gifts, I feel compelled to act on behalf of all wine drinkers.