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2013 harvest

In recent weeks, our mother-son winemaking team has been busy blending, blending, and blending. Delia and Alan recently conducted preliminary trials for the 2013 VIADER and “V” blends, and also finalized the base blends for the 2012 vintage. The 2012 will be bottled at the end of the summer, while the 2013 wines still have over a year of barrel aging and will continue to evolve over the next several months. We cannot be more excited to have produced two fantastic vintages back to back. Please enjoy the highlights of our “State of the Vintage Address.”


2012 Highlights

Official Release: August 2015
Futures Club delivery in October & November 2014

Winemakers Alan & Delia Viader

2012 Growing season
Starting off with a long wet winter and early spring, the 2012 growing season saw a later budbreak in mid-April when the weather took a dramatic turn and got rather warm for most of the spring. Long periods of warm, dry weather allowed vines to grow and fill the canopy at a steady pace. This excellent weather pattern gave the vines an opportunity to produce a much larger crop than 2011 while maintaining a balanced maturation cycle throughout the season. Warmer weather leading up to harvest led to rapid phenolic and sugar accumulation. The benefits of a larger canopy (due to the heavy rains early season) were really apparent late in the summer as temperatures reached triple-digits. The canopy protected the grapes from direct exposure while allowing us to wait until they reached optimal maturity. Night-harvesting started at the beginning of October with Cabernet Franc and we picked the last block of Petit Verdot on October 20th. In general, wines of the 2012 vintage are exploding with rich ripe fruit, balanced with firm structure, and overall elegance.

2012 VIADER Tasting Notes
66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc
Explosive aromatics of ripe red fruits, cherry, raspberry, and rose petals with caramel notes. The mouthfeel is bold and balanced with incredibly smooth supple tannins. This vintage especially lives up to its popular nickname for the Viader blend, “Liquid Cashmere.”

2012 “V” Tasting Notes
65% Petit Verdot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon
Complex layers of red and black fruits. Rich bouquet of black cherry, wild strawberries, black tea, chamomile, pencil shavings, cigar box, molasses, cocoa. Gripping tannins with mouthwatering acidity. Long finish with lingering baking spices on the palate.

2013 Highlights

Official Release: August 2016
Futures Club delivery in October & November 2015

copyright Luisa Bonachea

Janet Viader during the 2013 night harvest
(photo courtesy of Luisa Bonachea)

2013 Growing season
We are really excited about the 2013’s. The wines show overwhelmingly rich, concentrated red fruits and impressive structure that is still incredibly approachable due to smooth and supple tannins. Similar to the 2012 but the main difference is a certain viscosity that persists in the mouthfeel for the 2013 wines. The wines are more filling on the palate and have more “weight” than the 2012. The year saw medium rainfall levels and a warm spring, with a heat wave towards the end of June. All grape varieties showed beautiful phenolic development at harvest time, and quickly came to be rich, sleek, accessible, and elegantwines. Harvest took place about 10 to 14 days earlier than in 2012.

2013 VIADER Tasting Notes
Preliminary Blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Cabernet Franc
Aromas of sweet oak, burnt caramel, coffee, savory notes, herbs, and rose petals. The fruit on the nose is also invitingly sweet with bright red cherry and raspberry, hints of anise and other complex dark fruits. Great structure, full-bodied, and amazing mouthfeelon the palate.

2013 “V” Tasting Notes
Preliminary Blend: 59% Petit Verdot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon
Very rich aromatics dominated by dark fruits, cherry plums, dried cherries, black licorice, cherry liqueur, moving into notes of coffee, bittersweet cocoa, baking spices, fresh herbs, rosemary, and rose petals. Lingering finish with supple tannins and integrated oak barrel notes.

Night harvest at VIADER

The cooler grapes are processed at VIADER winery following the night harvest

Exciting happenings at VIADER as we continue with our night harvesting schedule. Our 2013 harvest officially began two weeks ago on the evening of Monday, September 9th when we brought in a small block of our Syrah. Delia and I were just returning from dinner with some old friends on Spring Mountain. As we approached the winery, we could see in the distance what looked like fireflies in the vineyards under a thin crescent moon. Our harvest crew was wearing headlamps as they skillfully moved in between the vines, quickly picking only the best clusters into their small bins.We have several reasons for picking at night. Predominantly, colder temperatures help protect the fruit at harvest, slowing natural yeast and inhibiting any bacteria growth while preserving the fresh fruit flavors and acids in the grapes. Night temperatures on Howell Mountain and around Napa Valley can drop into the 50′s or 40′s even on summer days when we experience highs in the 90′s.

Within a couple hours of the nighttime harvest, the cold fruit is processed (destemmed and “crushed”) at the winery and then moves to the fermentation tanks where it is again cooled down to 40 degrees. This allows Alan, our second generation winemaker, to to do as long of a “cold soak” as possible and extract more color and distinct flavors from the cold skins. Read more about the cold soak philosophy in these article from Wines & Vines or Wine Spectator.

Nighttime harvest crew at VIADER

Nighttime harvest crew at the VIADER estate bringing in our 2013 Napa Valley Syrah

Secondly, both Delia and Alan have found that our harvest crew works easier in the cooler weather because they are more comfortable. We have less worry or issues with heat illness or dehydration when we avoid picking during the high temperatures that can plague a typical summer day on our fully exposed steep hillside.

Moreover, we discovered that night harvesting also allows us to be more efficient with the daytime schedule at the winery, since we can work on the wines in tank first thing in the morning. Alan Viader shares, “With night harvesting, the fruit comes in early morning (finishing at 3-4am typically) and then we arrive at 6am to crush the fruit before the sun peaks over the top of the mountain while its still cold. That then gives us all day to work the wines in tank.”  He prefers this to having to wait for the fruit until late morning or afternoon and then working the wines in tank until late into the evening.Cheers to the 2013 vintage and to a Happy Harvest!