Sunday, March 6, 2011

Diamond Mountain Wine Experience - Constant Vineyards & Winery

Diamond Mountain Wine Experience - Constant Vineyards & Winery

Our visit to Diamond Mountain reached the 'summit' with a visit to CONSTANT Diamond Mountain Vineyard and winery at the top of the mountain, sitting at over 2100 feet elevation. It also is among the oldest wineries in the valley with history dating back to the late 1800's.

We visited on a completely overcast day and it was spectacular - one can only imagine the incredible vistas on a 'normal' sunny day. It will be worth a return trip to find out. 
Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyards
Cabernet Sauvignon

Sitting at the top of the Mayacamas range, Freddy Constant grows Bordeaux varietals offered under his own Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyard label.  He also bottles Constant Diamond Mountain Queen of Diamonds Shiraz with grapes grown on the only Sonoma vineyard on Diamond Mountain.

Constant wines tasted:
  • Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
  • Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
  • Constant Diamond Mountain Cabernet Franc 2006
  • Constant Diamond Mountain Syrah 2006

Constant Diamond Mountain hillside vineyards
as seen from historic winery cottage.

Constant Diamond Mountain hilltop vista
with 'infinite' vineyard views

Freddie Constant telling the Constant
Diamond Mountain story.
Picturesque winter vineyard views
from tasting house

Constant mountaintop tasting house - cozy even
on an inclement day.

Diamond Mountain Wine Experience - Diamond Creek Vineyards

Diamond Mountain Wine  Experience - Diamond Creek Vineyards

A trip to Napa Valley Diamond Mountain by the serious wine enthusiast or collector would not be complete without a visit to the legendary Diamond Creek Vineyards. Founded in 1968 by the late Al Brounstein, a visionary pioneer who defied conventions of the time by planting Bordeaux varietals on secluded Diamond Mountain in the Mayacamas Range at the north remote end of Napa Valley.

Diamond Creek is a case study in terroir - each of its four vineyards with its own micro-climate, soil type and geography that are revealed in their single vineyard designated Cabernet Sauvignon wines - named for their four distinctly different origination vineyards. The vineyards of Diamond Creek are Gravelly Meadow (5 acres - center left), Red Rock Terrace (7 acres front), Volcanic Hill (8 acres opposite), and Lake (¾ acre), plus Petit Verdot (1 acre) to the left outside of frame. The vineyards as pictured below, are amazingly co-located close to each other yet have distinctive individual characteristics that are revealed in their wines.

The chateau and tasting room offer a magnificent setting and view of the vineyards on the slope and meadow below and of the opposing hillside.

Diamond Creek offers an elegant tasting experience showcasing their wines harmonized by Diamond Creek cabernet sauvignon reduction with petit beef tenderloin and artisanal cheeses.

Diamond Creek dinner tasting.
Thomas Arvid painting above fireplace in background.
(See below)

The limited production highly allocated wines amazingly reflect the character of their source site. Boots Brownstein carries on the Diamond Creek tradition.

Our tasting group with 'Boot's' Brownstein

Diamond Creek Wines Tasted -

Diamond Creek Tasting Flight

Wines tasted -
  • Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
  • Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

What a wonderful opportunity to do a horizontal tasting of Diamond Creek vineyard select wines. There really is unique character revealed in each wine. We each had our favorite - all were spectacular.

Diamond Creek Art - 

Another special treat of visiting the winery is to see the legend of Al Brownstein living on in the display of his original artwork (shown below) that was used in the Diamond Creek Thirtieth Anniversary commemorative labels for the 2002 vintage vineyard select cabernet sauvignons.

Diamond Creek wine painting montage by Thomas Arvid graces the fireplace in the tasting room.
More on Thomas Arvid art.

Special wines for special occasions -

We served a horizontal selection of each Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from magnums at the wedding of our son Ryan to Michelle Diamond! Several magnums were birth year vintages.

Diamond Creek horizontal magnum tasting including birth year vintages served at Ryan and Michelle's wedding.
Bill and Beth Connolly shown above in attendance, served birth-year vintage 1982 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon from double magnum at the wedding of son Will and Kate Jandl.

Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon 1982 Double Magnum served by Connelly's at Will and Kate's wedding.
We featured Diamond Creek in a horizontal Napa cabernet tasting dinner held at the Fairmount Hotel in Chicago with Bill & Beth C, and California friends Gigi & Michael P, Andy & Liat, and Phil - who came in to town for the occasion. Also featured were Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and Dominus Estate. 
Gala Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon dinner tasting - Diamond Creek, Dunn, and Dominus

And yes, there is the actual Diamond Creek. Spectacular settings and views on the vineyard grounds.

 Other vineyard views .....

Diamond Creek Lake Vineyard

Diamond Creek Lake Vineyard
Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace

Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace

More Diamond Creek Winery Pics on Rick's

Also see other Diamond Mountain producer Constant Vineyards and Winery blog.