There is within Napa perhaps no other appellation where vineyards seem so intent on expressing their own view, their own personality. Wine remembers where it comes from. The story it tells of Mt. Veeder speaks loudly in the Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot of Mt. Brave.
The Mt. Brave Vineyard, once the Chateau Potelle Vineyard, was established decades ago at elevations ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 feet. While Mt. Veeder is cool, Mt. Brave sits above the fog line, with morning sun warming the grapes each day. Soils are sparse, a gravelly loam with rocks large and small. Nutrients and minerals are scant, resulting in tiny berries with concentrated and complex flavors.
Mt. Veeder is the largest AVA in the Napa Valley, established in 1993, but just 1,000 acres are planted to grapes, less than 2 percent of Napa Valley's production. In vineyards from 400 to 2,400 feet, average yields are the lowest in the region.
While much of Napa Valley is a mélange of 30 different soils, all traced to volcanic activity, much of Mt. Veeder is an ancient seabed, with thin, rocky soils typically 12 to 24 inches deep.
Steep slopes of up to 30 degrees have an array of exposures, creating micro-climates around every twisting turn. San Pablo Bay brings cooling maritime influences and serves to moderate the diurnal temperature swings. It is not uncommon for Mt. Veeder to enjoy daytime temperatures 10° to 15° cooler than those on the Napa Valley floor.
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