The Spring Mountain District (an area, not a peak) was officially established as an AVA in 1993. Located on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, on the western side of the Napa Valley, this AVA encompasses about 8,600 acres on elevations that range from 400 feet, beginning down in St. Helena, to 2,600 feet at the top. Up there, one feels like the Napa Valley is a million miles away.
Today is Vinomaker's birthday and so, as is our tradition, we decided to go winetasting. Usually it is me who chooses which winery to visit, as a surprise, but this year Vinomaker requested that we visit Pride Mountain Winery. Pride produces a lovely Merlot that we have both enjoyed over the years, but neither of us had ever visited the winery, so we loaded ourselves into the Vino-mobile and headed north. Driving six miles from the valley floor, up through the Spring Mountain AVA, to an elevation of 2,200 feet, over the Napa County line and into Sonoma County, an hour after leaving Vinoland and a half mile downhill into Sonoma County, we eventually arrived at Pride.
Pride's winery and vineyards actually straddle both Napa and Sonoma counties (there is a cobblestone-strip in the pavement outside the winery's caves that delineates the boundary). An interesting fact is that Pride has to specify on their wine labels the percentage of grapes from each county. And, of course, Pride has to make sure they pay the correct taxes to each county.
The tasting and tour at Pride was a really nice experience, in no small part due to the hospitable Nikki who hosted our small group of eight Pride-enthusiasts. Vinomaker was a little disappointed that they had already sold out of their 2014 Viognier, (total production for Pride is approximately 18,000 cases a year), but Nikki assuaged Vinomaker's fear of going Viognier-less on his birthday by treating him to a tank-sample of Pride's soon to be bottled 2015 - he was delighted.
Great wines, nice facility, interesting history, genial host, wonderful drive up the mossy-ferny-redwoody-winding Spring Mountain on a grey, drizzly day. Good fun.
Happy birthday Vinomaker!
Nine down, seven to go.