Dark ruby with staining edges. Bright citrus esprit with a tinge of barnyard. Morphs almost instantly to extremely ripe, decadent fruit preserves, with candied mint and a black tea tincture. Banana peel and German chocolate cake present a most heady–and nearly chokingly rich–bouquet.
I have loved this brand for many years. Mt. Veeder rips a long swath down the West side of the valley where the Mayacamas range separates Napa from Sonoma Counties. Even though this wine is commonly available in any decent supermarket or drug store in the US–and it is safe in the arms of massive Constellation Brands–I have always been impressed with how much power and structure and pure volcanic mountain terroir they manage to pack into their simply-labeled bottles. In other words: not much has changed about the contents–or appearance–of the bottle at Mt. Veeder Winery since its founding. With all that said, though, THIS is easily the ripest, richest offering from them I have ever tasted.
Wait. Strike that. Or let me re-phrase that now that I have tasted it. THIS is easily the ripest, richest, nyet: syrupiest SMELLING. As soon as it hits your mouth it is a completely different animal. A more severe juxtaposition of nose and mouth-feel I have not remembered. Bullyingly thin on attack, fruit oh so lean and mean, shrill and unforgiving in its tight-fisted brilliance, shedding small shavings of volcano and briar in very incremental doses–never as much as you want, but obviously with plenty reserved. Gorgeous laser-focused cherry wrapped COMPLETELY in a combination of piercing acid and ridiculous, volatile tannins clamoringly bitter far into the end for attention.
And just like that, this Cabernet retains the medal of Most Seriously Structured and Least Common-Winedrinker-Friendly Big Corporation Napa Valley Supermarket Cab In The World. I have placed this award on Mt Veeder for many years–and although I was scared for a minute–it still retains it. From the nose, I had nearly convinced myself this was going to be a sell-out wine for the masses, turning its back on all my structure-love and former plaudits. But no. It stands true to the pedigree. And to reference another aspect of this topic, it has been my experience for many many years a wine which smells ripe and rich and round but goes all lean & mean in the mouth is a PRIME cellaring candidate. The fruit is there–it hasn’t developed yet to its full potential, but is there–and the nose never lies. This would definitely be something to accidentally forget a half-dozen bottles under the stairs somewhere for a half-decade or more. I’m going 15 bottles for 15 years.
I really am loving Napa 2014’s.
2014 MOUNT VEEDER WINERY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14.5