Diamond Mountain District is located in the Mayacamas Mountain Range west of Napa Valley near Calistoga. At an elevation approaching 1,700 feet, the vineyards are planted on steep volcanic hillsides. As a result, they are known for their rich, deeply concentrated fruit. Inky and complex with a lingering finish.
"Blackberry, truffle, mushroom and conifer aromas here. Very firm, silky tannins give this wine lots of composure and focus. Tight center palate of blue fruit. The hints of wood will fold nicely into the wine. Needs three to four years to come together. Try after 2022.” - James Suckling, February 2020
Notably deep in color, with aromas and flavors of intense black fruit led by black cherry, blackberries and wild mountain boysenberry. Elegant, polished tannins with a silky, full mouthfeel. Sweet oak joins sweet tobacco, notes of bitter dark chocolate and contrasting mocha. Balanced and well structured with a lingering finish and hints of oak spice.
Winter rains helped signal the end of the immediate drought, but vineyards had grown stressed after multiple challenging years, resulting in modest yields for the season. A dry January was followed by a wet February, and temperatures remained mild, encouraging an early bud break to begin the growing season. Showers arrived in April, slowing the rapid advance of flowering and set. Early by historical standards, after harvest began picks moved at a leisurely pace as winemakers waited for ever more complex flavors to develop. The extended season helped balance acids and allowed layers of flavors to emerge.
This vintage is principally sourced from Diamond Mountain District and the Peterson Vineyard, both in the Mayacamas Mountain range west of Napa Valley near the winery home in Calistoga. Steep volcanic hillsides notably produce deeply concentrated fruit in small bunches, with even smaller berries. Relatively steep as Diamond Mountain slopes from 800 to 1,700 feet above sea level, the vineyards are often above the fog line, receiving ample sunshine at cooler temperatures than the valley floor.
Fruit was hand-harvested and hand-sorted, selecting only the highest quality fruit for fermentation in a combination of concrete and stainless vessels. The concrete tanks, relatively new to the winery, offered a significant purity of expression. Fruit was allowed to ferment for up to 15 days with regular pump-overs to extract deep color and rich flavors. The wine was then gently pressed, racked and aged for 18 months in 93% new French oak.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”
|Oak Treatment||18 months in 93% new French oak|
|Blend||98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petite Verdot, 1% Merlot|
|Case Production||320 cases|