Sunday, November 8, 2020

Mt Veeder Napa Cab and Sicilian Blend for Italian Dinner

 Duo of Mt Veeder Napa Bordeaux Varietals and Unique Sicilian White Blend for Italian Dinner and Evening Tasting

With Sis Jan visiting from SoCal, we dined at Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria. We took BYOB from our cellar a Yates Mt Veeder Napa Cab from Yates Family Vineyards, a producer we visited together during our Napa Valley Mt Veeder Wine Experience back in 2011. 

As mentioned, we visited Yates Family Vineyards located high on the upper slopes of Mt Veeder in the Mayacamas Mountains in the southwest corner of Napa Valley, in the Mount Veeder Appellation.

Yates have 35 acres of steep, hillside vineyards that were replanted in the early 1980s to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.  

The Yates vineyards sitting at the upper reaches of the mountain at an average elevation of over 1,100 feet, have site terroir that combines the altitude and its exposure and drainage with its microclimates and volcanic soils to produce incredible grapes with intense fruit flavors.  These elements all contribute to produce long-lived ageworthy wines from the estate vineyard.  

Proprietor Mike Yates, shown left, is aided by his daughter Whitney Yates Hanes, working together as Co-Winemakers to produce wines under the Yates label. 

They estate bottle standard Bordeaux varietal designated labels as well as a Reserve. They also produce a St Emilion style blend and a left bank Bordeaux blend Alden Perry Reserve named for family patriarch Mike's grandfather, Perry and father Alden, who shifted to the Bordeaux varietals in the early fifties, (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Franc). 

Yates labels are produced in small quantity of less about 200 cases, including this Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that we tasted this evening of which only 98 cases were produced.

Here we are, shown with Mary Yates and her husband Todd Jones who manages sales and marketing for Yates.

We drank this with the Angeli's special Sausage and Pepper Pasta in garlic with shaved brussel sprouts and crushed red pepper. As a post course it was an ideal complement to the Butternut Squash Gnocci with its brown sugar sauce.

Yates Family Mount Veeder Redwoods Estate Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 

The winemaker's notes on this release sum it up well. "Deep dark purple ruby in color shows the intensity of this varietal. Bold earthy aromas of eucalyptus, sweet cherry, blackberry, cedar stone, and bittersweet chocolate. Lusciously complex, this wine boasts of high toned fruits, cherries perfectly ripened in the sun, rose, leather, cinnamon, briar, wet stone with a hit of coriander. The finish is smooth and memorable."  

Wine Enthusiast gave this release 92 points in their September 2009 issue.

This was aged eighteen months in 35% new French oak.  

Producers notes on the 2006 vintage,  "2006 started off with heavy rains bringing in the New Year.  This wet weather lingered into spring. This caused the vines to grown energetically early, delaying bloom into June.  June’s weather started to warm, with dry conditions favoring fruit set.  July had some record heat which was followed by a moderate summer.  Harvest was delayed due to the wet spring and delayed bloom.  Total yield was slightly lower, with small berries that helped concentrate the flavors and enhance the fruit aromas creating intense wines with soft tannins for accessibility early but still possessing age ability for years to come."

At fourteen years of age, this is likely tasting at the apex of its drinking window. Tonight, this was consistent with our earlier tasting experience, dark deep inky purple color - complex and full bodied, the black berry and black cherry fruits were accented by dusty rose petals, tones of dark bittersweet chocolate, spice, and a layer of leather on a smooth tannin finish. 

RM 91 points. 


As we did last week, once again, we ordered from the Angeli's wine list this interesting unique Italian white blend from Sicily. Both wines were sensational with this one an ideal accompaniment to the Angelis signature Boston Clam Chowder and the Butternut squash gnocci and Linda's entree, the Seared Ahi tuna.

Stemmari Dalila Sicilia Viognier Grillo DOC Blend 2016

This wine finds its way to the Angeli's winelist as a result of owner Tony Angeli having visited the winery estate during his visit to the region a couple years ago. 
This wine is from the Stemmari winery located in the town of Acate in the Ragusa province of Sicily located in south eastern Sicily. The winery has 1,700 acres in two estates along the south coast of Sicily, one in Sambuca di Sicilia in the Agrigento province and the other in Acate in the province of Ragusa.
The vast Stemmari brand has a broad portfolio of wines include single varietals like nero d’avola, chardonnay, pinot grigio, moscato, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and even a sparkling grillo. They offer a few blends including this Dalila wine.
This unique blend is comprised of the Sicilian varietal Grillo and the international Viognier, native to the French Rhone River valley. The local indigenous wine grape "grillo" – which means "cricket" in Italian. This Sicilian white wine is composed of 80 percent grillo and 20 percent viognier.  
The interesting branding of music as a metaphor for the harmonizing of the two elegant varietals in the Dalila blend with musical notes on the label and on the bottle foil.

This was sensational and a very pleasant surprise discovery. Its available at a price point that provides great QPR - Quality Price Ratio

Straw colored, medium-full bodied, nicely balanced acidity and smooth mouthfeel with intense, bright vibrant, nicely integrated tropical fruits with notes of pear and hints of peach, apricot and citrus with tones of vanilla, floral and stone fruits with character and profile of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

RM 91 points.

 Rubissow Mt Veeder Napa Valley Merlot 2006

 After dinner, back at home, we opened another label that we tasted and procured with Jan at the winery, Rubissow, high atop Mt Veeder during the same Napa Valley, Mt Veeder Appellation tour

We visited the Rubissow Estate and Vineyards, also high atop Mt Veeder and met proprietor, winemaker, producer George Rubissow.  The Rubissow hilltop vineyard is at the southern end of the Mt Veeder appellation looking south to Carneros with views in the distance of Mt Diablo to the west of San Francisco Bay and Mt Tamalpais in Marin to the north of the golden gate. 

The southern exposure and proximity to the San Pablo Bay moderates the climate of the site. 


From my earlier notes in a previous blogpost, "my recollection of this wine was the profile of the Yates Fleur de Veeder that we tasted next to this as reviewed above - full bodied with rich extracted fruit. Tonight this was leaner and lighter than I remembered and hence expected. I am looking ahead to trying this again as we still have a half case in the cellar."

Tonight's tasting was consistent with that earlier experience, this showed dark garnet purple color, medium body with black berry fruits, slightly tart black cherry with a hints of spice, tobacco, touch of mocha and coffee bean. 

This was a bit flabby and lacked structure and therefor was a bit underwhelming, perhaps due to comparison with the bigger, bolder, brighter Yates, reviewed above.

RM 87 points.