Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Mount Veeder AVA.

I had intended to leave my exploration of the Napa Valley's mountain AVAs until Thud arrives this summer, but last Saturday I found myself up in the Mount Veeder American Viticultural Area (MVAVA).
Nestled high in the Mayacamas Mountains (which were once a seabed), the MVAVA is a relatively small AVA of around 25 square miles with approximately 1,000 acres planted to grapevines.  Some of the steepest vineyards in California, certainly in the Napa Valley, are to be found here: farming on a  30° slope is, to me, the very definition of hillside viticulture. Difficult to farm, the shallow volcanic soils mean that crop yields can be a full 50% less than what a grower could expect to harvest from a valley floor vineyard (for Cabernet sauvignon that could mean a mere 2 - 2½ tons per acre).  The Mayacamas range can receive nearly twice the amount of rainfall than the valley floor, a rather soggy 35 - 40 inches a year. Abundant with firm tannins, brambly is a word quite often used when describing the red wines of the MVAVA. And apparently the wines age very well.  I have had a few MVAVA wines, but not a lot.
Notable wineries (to me) are; The Hess Collection (in part for being on the site of the former Christian Brothers winery, Mont La Salle), Rubissow (I had a wonderful hillside-viticulture field trip up there once) and Mayacamas Vineyards and Winery (where my NVC viticulture professor Dr. Krebs was once employed as the vineyard manager.  And also where A Walk in the Clouds, starring Keanu I-couldn't-act-my-way-out-of-a-paper-bag Reeves, was filmed).
Ten down, six to go.


James Higham said...

Interesting. I was over there some years back and should have gone through there but billeted with the family, did what they were doing and went further south. Sounds idyllic.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

VG: Another great post.
As you might remember, I love(d) A Walk In The Clouds! A wholesome movie in the midst of an unending swill of X-Boys and Girls for that matter, etc. Unrealistic, but 'good' fantasy for a change; not that much about wine though!
I would love to billet there:)

Thud said...

Its nice and cool up in the redwoods.

Vinogirl said...

JH: Next time you should head north...this northern idyll comes with wine.

NHW: Thanks D. I thought about your love of that film whilst I was typing :)

Thud: Perhaps a little too wet in the winter, but was probably nice today as we had a toasty day on the valley floor.

Thud said...

Wet in winter, your comedy gold streak continues!

Vinogirl said...

Thud: Winter, spring, summer etc., are all times to avoid wetness!