Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cool Reflections

Foggy mornings on Howell Mountain. There's something incredibly enchanting about this fog that appears on select winter days and summer's warmest mornings. I've grown up on this mountain but it is no less beautiful to witness this shroud of white covering the commotion on the valley floor.

Everything is all covered up in a white blanket, and the peaceful silence at our family estate is even more surreal. In this photo, the morning mist even covers our western view of Diamond Mountain in the Mayacamas Mountains Range, which climbs up to over 2500 feet directly across from us.

As a child, I used to walk down the hillside trying to get in the middle of the fog, but really it's not much different from being above it... you just get colder! But you warm up quickly with the steep climb back to the top of the vineyard.

My mother Delia, was a visionary and chose to plant our vine rows straight downhill in a European design versus the horizontal terracing method. The rows enjoy western exposure that is sun baked in the afternoon, giving us the mature and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot for which we are known.

If my family has learned one thing in the past 25 years of farming on Howell Mountain, it's that our vineyard site truly excels in cooler vintages, like 1998 and 2000. Delia says those are the years where the human component of terroir - the decisions of the winemaker - is most important.

We're also very excited about our 2010s and 2011s! The 2010 vintage was featured this weekend at our local trade wine auction, Premiere Napa Valley. I was speaking with my friend and colleague Chris Howell of CAIN on Spring Mountain about the vintage who agreed, "You could not have a better vineyard site for a cooler vintage." Other sites in the Napa Valley fared very well too, which was proven by the excitement at our record-breaking Premiere event. I really enjoyed the 2010 wines I sampled at Premiere, and know that my contemporaries in Napa Valley will continue to produce stellar wines even if Mother Nature throws a little fog and summer rain at us.

Happy Leap Year everyone.


Janet Viader, sales & marketing at VIADER

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