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A RECENT VISIT TO DIAMOND CREEK VINEYARDS – FALL 2018

 

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I first visited Diamond Creek Vineyards over 40 years ago. The first vintage for Diamond Creek Creek was 1972, and shortly after that we went to we went to visit (to read a recent article on Diamond Creek including the history click here [2]).

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The late Al Brounstein, along wine his wife Boots, founded Diamond Creek Vineyards. Sadly Al passed away in 2006 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  To say Al was a visionary is an understatement. He went against conventional wisdom in so many ways, but everything he did was right! And the quality of the wines says everything one needs to know about Al’s judgement.
Jerry Luper made the wine from 1972 until 1990. Phil Steinschreiber has been the winemaker since 1991. Today Al’s wife Boots and her son Phil Ross are in charge at Diamond Creek, and the wines continue to be great year after year. Think about it, from 1972 till until 2017, that’s 45 years!

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Recently I was at Diamond Creek for another visit and tasted the 2017 wines out of barrel. The total production in 2017 was about the same as 2016 after the short crop in 2015 (to read about the 2015s as well as more information on Diamond Creek and wine and food click here [5]).  But, all three vintages are different. I have been tasting wines out of barrel at Diamond Creek Vineyards for over 40 years. There has never been an “off vintage” at Diamond Creek Vineyards, so I knew the 2017 wines would be outstanding.  But, even with that expectation, I can say I have never tasted young Diamond Creek Cabernets with as much fruit as these 2017s. Winemaker Phil Steinschreiber also concurred that the 2017s have more fruit than any other vintage since he has been there. So let me just say at the outset that these 2017 Diamond Creek Cabernets are amazing. In fact, potentially, as a group, these 2017s may be the greatest wines from Gravelly Meadow, Red Rock Terrace, and Volcanic Hill that I have ever tasted from barrel.

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2017 Diamond Creek Vineyards Gravelly Meadow
The 2017 Gravelly Meadow production is 525 cases into which 25 cases (one barrel) of Lake will blended to make 550 cases. With a very dark color the wine has a great perfume of violets and cassis with a faint spice tinge. Deep and rich with intense cassis fruit with a floral tinge it is beautifully balanced with a lingering persistence on the palate. A classic Gravelly Meadow, this is very special – Extraordinary Potential.

2017 Diamond Creek Vineyards Red Rock Terrace
The 2017 Red Rock Terrace production is 575 cases. The wine is very dark in color with a gorgeous fruit driven perfume of berries and cassis. Loaded with fruit it is supple and lush with lots of intensity and flavor. This too is classic Red Rock Terrace and very special – Extraordinary Potential.

2017  Diamond Creek Vineyards Volcanic Hill
The 2017 Volcanic Hill production is 850 cases. This is a stunning wine that may be a modern day version of the classic 1979 Volcanic Hill First Pick which is one of the all-time great Napa Cabernet Sauvignons (to read an article with a tasting note on the 1979 Diamond Creek Vineyards Volcanic Hill First Pick click here [2]). With very dark purple black hued color this Volcanic Hill has an intense perfume of cassis and blackberries. On the palate it is loaded with very intense black fruit flavors that envelope the well-integrated soft tannins. A monumental wine with great persistence and intensity, it is also, at the same time, harmonious. This is a rare combination. And, while a lot of patience will be required for the wine to blossom, that patience should be very well rewarded – Extraordinary Plus Potential.

If you love great historic Napa Valley Cabernet as I do, you must not miss these 2017 Diamond Creek Vineyard Cabernets. They are legends in the making. The wines will first be priced and offered from the winery on a futures basis sometime in the spring of next year (to visit the website click here [7]and ask to have your name added to the mailing list to be notified when the 2017s are available).

 

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