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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.

2012 Barrel Tasting

Delia & Alan Viader tasting the 2012 VIADER blend from barrel

Yesterday, I was pulled away from my computer to join Delia and Alan for a quick barrel tasting of our blends from the 2012 vintage. We tasted through four different barrels of VIADER, two tastes each of “V” and Syrah, and finally we tried both the 2012 and 2013 vintages of our special single barrel blend of “Tribute” which is dedicated to my grandfather and Delia’s father, Walter Viader.

Wow. The wines from this vintage are so impressive. Rich fruit of the 2012 VIADER fills the mouth; the texture has an elegant roundness and fullness, with tasty caramel notes on the finish. Our 2012 “V” has the delicious bittersweet chocolate notes and brightness that we were hoping to extract from the grapes – and we did thankfully! The Syrah was fermented in the concrete egg “tank” and may be one of the best we’ve ever made. Coming around to the “Tribute,” we all took smaller samples because we only made one barrel (~25 cases), and this wine, painstakingly blended by Alan and Delia, embodies all that is Howell Mountain – red and black fruits supported by supple tannins and serious structure.

We’re looking forward to sharing these wines with you in a couple years! If you are interested in joining Alan for a barrel tasting, please view our 2014 Events Calendar. Alan will be giving a guided barrel tasting and cave tour on Friday, November 14th from 2-4pm. Space is extremely limited and an RSVP required. Cheers!

Gruezie! Hello from Switzerland!

Restaurant Braui

Restaurant Braui in Hochdorf, Zurich, Switzerland

At 6am the day after Turkey Day, the mother-son winemaking duo Delia and Alan Viader were en route to Zurich, Switzerland, to be guests of honor for a fantastic Vertical Tasting put together by family friend and wine collector, Eugen Haefliger. The setting on November 30th, was the infamous Restaurant Braui, headed by talented Chef Werner Tobler and featuring delicious Thanksgiving-inspired dishes such as Gefullter Schenkel auf Wirsing Blanquette mit Truffel (turkey liver with truffles)!

Starting with an Imperial 6L of the 2004 VIADER for the reception, the 20-year VIADER Vertical almost exclusively featured large format 1.5L magnum bottles, starting with our inaugural 1989 vintage, and finishing with the classic 2009 VIADER.

For availability please view the Special Features on our website (for a limited time). You may also contact Janet@viader.com, or call (707) 963-3816.

We would like to share with you the tasting notes taken by Alan:

 

Flight #1

1989 VIADER: Impressive. Showing great today. Nice earthy tones with elegant fruit qualities. Very “Bordeaux-like.” Nice finish… still pretty lengthy. Has more life in it!

1990 VIADER: Little tight at first. Dark, forest floor, fresh mushroom, bit leaner but still very good. It is the most “Bordeaux-like” in the flight.

1991 VIADER: Second favorite of the Flight. Hints of dried dark fruits, prunes without negative over-ripeness qualities. Very nice characters. Dark. Spicy. Marmalade. Beautiful wine!

1992 VIADER: Tasting nice today. Waking up. Good earth, spice, with delicate fruit tones. Dark red fruits, dried flowers. Very nice in fact.

1993 VIADER: Impressive. Tight, starting to show a bit of age. After some time really opened up. Some hints of the fruit but turned into more tobacco, cigar box, dried floral notes and earthy notes as well.

1994 VIADER: Star of the flight! Rich and fruity, nice silky textures, creamy, caramel. Hard caramel candy.

Flight #2

1995 VIADER: Star of the flight! Big, bold right off the bat. Nice fruit concentration in balance. Rich fruit, slightly overripe fruit but goes great in this. Reminds me of raspberry liqueur.

1996 VIADER: Interesting hints of tropical fruit. More earthy than 1995. Seems leaner or slightly muted.

1997 VIADER: Big body but tight on the nose. Tons of tannins. Has nice fruit on the finish but chunky right now throughout the palate. Needs time to open up!

1998 VIADER: Second favorite of the flight! Good aromatics, beautiful fruit, dried flowers, layers of silky caramel, earthy depth. Very good wine.

1999 VIADER: Showing a bit of raisin at first. Tons of red fruit, seems sweet and shorter on the finish. Good flavors but bit too rich. Has a bit of root beer or prune soda sweetness on the nose (molasses, prunes, etc.)

Flight #3

2000 VIADER: Very nice wine. Bright red hard cherry candy up front with a solid herbal frame. Hints of green, freshness on the palate. Very nice balance.

2001 VIADER: Bit tired this evening. Nice palate, good sweetness but I remember the aromas being better.

2002 VIADER: Nice, round, rich fruit profile. Solid oak, power wine. Big and chunky right now. Good follow through and nice body. Lengthy but big dark rich fruit and plums.

2003 VIADER: Blueberries! Very good aromatically but dusty and tight on the palate. Less silky than others. Much better from the 750′s but aging nicely. Good for another 10+ years easily, maybe more! Improved dramatically with more time to open up in the glass.

2004 VIADER (1.5L and 6L): Beautiful fruit, ripe, round. Nice as well from 1.5L, but the 6L is more “friendly” right now.

Flight #4

2005 VIADER: Big impression. Good fruit, not super “bright” red but more dark cherry as some of the others are more raspberry. Black tea. Good flavors, long-rich palate. Lost the green notes it had several years ago.

2006 VIADER: Very good right now! Big, chunky and bold fruit. Very dense and solid wine. Woke up very well compared to the last time I tasted it. Nice!

2007 VIADER: Less up font frui but tons of spice, oak spice, nice red raspberry fruit. Leaner but not “weak.” Still a big wine. More linear and focused. Good right now. Nice fruit finish.

2008 VIADER: Very big and vibrant. Nice chocolate character, layered with dark red cherry, currant. Great fruit today. Showing great!

2009 VIADER: More vanilla, caramel up front. Nice, sweet, juicy wine. Young wine has some “baby fat.”

For fun, they also presented a selection of magnums of our estate “V” Petit Verdot Blend.

Flight #5

2003 “V”: Rose petal aromas, very soft silky textures. Best wine of the flight. Good now through next 5+ years.

2005 “V”: Very open and expressive tonight. Very nice. Big finish. Has nice lift of fruit with decent grip. Going to be good in 5+ years.

2010 “V”: Bigger, riper style of wine. More rich, raspberry, flowers. Big powerful style. Too young right now, but going to be an amazing wine. 5-10+ years.

For availability please view the Special Features on our website (for a limited time). You may also contact Janet@viader.com, or call (707) 963-3816.

View more details in German at MyBestWine.ch

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!

VIADER Proprietary Red Blend

Even as harvest nears ever closer, winemakers Delia and Alan Viader are already booking their post-harvest calendars. At the close of November, the mother-son duo will be traveling to Zurich, Switzerland in order to attend a full vertical of VIADER’s flagship wine! Put together from the private cellar of our good family friend Eugen Haefliger, every bottled vintage of the VIADER Proprietary Red Blend from 1989 to 2010 will be showcased in magnums to an eager audience of European New World wine collectors and local wine writers for a “Cab & Turkey” “Thanksgiving” dinner at Restaurant Braui Hochdorf.

Delia’s first bottled wine was in 1989, three years after literally “breaking ground” on her Howell Mountain estate and planting the first lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The shallow soils and the terrain were so rocky and the volcanic bedrock so dense that the vineyard developers initially had to use dynamite to break apart the soil enough to start the vine planting process. The result was our “dynamite vineyard” with vines positioned in rows scaling down the hillside in a European design, maximizing the afternoon sun exposure and the natural drainage provided by the rocky soils. Since the 1990′s, our wines have been well received and imported into Switzerland.

Viader Vineyards

The vineyards of VIADER consistently produce quality wines each vintage

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, acclaimed Swiss chef Werner Tobler of Restaurant Braui Hochdorf chose to prepare a turkey dinner to pair with the vertical of VIADER wines. This sold out dinner is an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the consistency, ageability and quality of VIADER wines. We look forward to sharing our tasting notes and cellar recommendations upon Delia and Alan’s return! In the meanwhile, we welcome you to peruse the Vintage Charts and harvest season descriptions provided by the Napa Valley Vintners, our local non-profit trade association.
Anyone interested in attending a local VIADER Vertical Tasting should sign up for our event at the winery on Saturday, November 9th from 4-5:30pm. Please call (707) 963-3816 or email janet@viader.com.
Proscht! Cheers!

Alan viader of Viader Winery and Vineyards

Alan viader of Viader Winery and Vineyards

As August draws to a close, Alan is busy doing his diligent maintenance in anticipation of the harvest. Currently, he is checking sugar levels in the grapes and says they’re getting close to where he likes them to be. “The C-block Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc will likely be first to get picked,” says Alan. He noted that some blocks were already at 22-23 degrees Brix (25-26 is the desired level). And because of the recent warm weather, our small plot of Syrah may also be picked first.

VIADER caves

VIADER caves

Meanwhile, in the caves, Alan and his crew are also busy racking.  They are currently racking all 2012’s (VIADER, “V”, VIADER Syrah, and DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon) before the rush of harvest to make room for the 2013 wines that will be coming in.  He and Delia are also whirling away at making blends.  Alan recently racked & blended a small base or preliminary blend of the 2012 VIADER.  He says, “It’s showing great right now but we may be adding or revising the blend in the future.”  With the estimated bottling date of summer, 2014, he feels there’s time to watch the development of the wine and possibly make some small changes.  In addition, he and Delia recently blended the 2012 DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon by Viader and feels it’s going to be a beauty.

That’s the update from the vineyards and cellar at Viader. Please subscribe to our blog and consider contacting us to join our email list so we can keep you posted on our specials, offers and the progress at the winery.