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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.”
Futures Club delivery in October & November 2014
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.
Official Release: August 2016
Futures Club delivery in October & November 2015
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.
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.
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.
It’s another exciting week in the vineyard, as we move closer to harvest. We continue our legacy of organic farming, which involves many sustainable practices that help our fruit flourish. One specific vineyard practice includes a unique effort to naturally control any predatory pests in order to maintain a balanced ecological system on the property, which Alan takes great pride in. In this light, he incorporates some amazing strategies, one of which occurred this week: the release of these tiny wasps that control pests by “flying around and laying their eggs into the belly of the host,” says Alan.
These very tiny wasps target the small pest known as vine mealybug to safely and naturally prevent this pest from causing detriment to the vines.
Close to 10,000 of these little beneficiary wasps are released per season. The adult wasps generally live about 2-3 days flying around laying hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. They arrive in small vials and are dispersed by our crew in the vineyard. How do they find their prey? “They fly around and are attracted to the pheromones from the females,” Alan says.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach: IPM is a pest management strategy useful for any farming system especially for organic growers.
It’s just another week in the life of an organic winery, with Alan Viader at the helm. Please keep in touch with us to learn more about news at the vineyard and our various product releases and specials. Coming up to harvest is the busiest and most exciting time at our vineyard. We’d love to have you come for a visit and feel free to ask questions below.
Cabernet Franc is one of the grapes Delia planted early on when settling on Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain in 1986. Both the namesake VIADER Proprietary Red Blend (30% Cab Franc in 2009) and the DARE by Viader single varietal (100%) show how the grape’s femininity, elegance and seductiveness shines through when cultivated here in the New World. Delia chose to focus on this particular grape variety because it had always captured her attention. She found Cabernet Franc to be intriguing, pleasant – almost voluptuous – on the palate, and moreover it was not prevalent in Napa Valley in the early 1980′s when she established the winery. Our inaugural release of VIADER back in 1989 had 40% Cab Franc as well. Since the beginning, Delia has been committed to blending and bottling this noble grape to capture its finesse and character which is unlike any other grape variety.
The grape is one of the five Bordeaux varietals and the dominant red grape of Loire Valley’s Chinon dating back several centuries. By the 18th century, the grape was widely planted in Pomerol and St.-Emillion. And while rarely the dominant player in wines of Bordeaux, it’s a significant component in the wine that inspired Delia’s choice: Cheval Blanc. In fact, the VIADER clone of Cabernet Franc is one of the few in existence that comes from the same St.-Emilion, Bordeaux area.
The Cabernet Franc varietal is mostly added to the VIADER Proprietary Red Blend for its lovely perfume that brings to mind violets, rich raspberries and plums, with a bit of red currant. The tannins show more restraint than those in its close relative Cabernet Sauvignon so the finish is smoother and silkier.
Here on Howell Mountain in sunny Napa Valley we love the expression of Cab Franc in both the small production VIADER and DARE by Viader wines, exploding with ripe dark plums and berries yet finishing smoothly with an elegance all of its own. If you haven’t yet tried our current releases, please come for a tasting soon or visit our website for more information.
Delia had a whirlwind trip to London earlier this month, stopping to pour at a wine dinner at Ransome’s Dock on the first night where she served as the Vintner Lead among the other Napa Valley Vintners, such as Shafer Vineyards. This was the most successful and interesting dinner on the trip, where she was delighted to pour a vertical from the 2002, 2005, and 2008 vintages of VIADER Proprietary Red Blend. Special guest and renowned author Jancis Robinson was so impressed with the presentation of the 2002 she made a beeline for Delia after the dinner for another taste!
The next day, Delia was off to The Jugged Hair for a winemaker lunch hosted by Graham Holter, Publisher & Founder of The Wine Merchant. The crowd very much enjoyed tasting the Viader wines and the food was scrumptious.
And if that weren’t enough hosting and socializing (all while experiencing jet lag), later that evening, Delia poured one more time for the crowds at Theatre of Wine, a small wine retailer owned by Daniel Ilsley in Tufnell Park London. The response by the British community was astounding and the discussions about American vs. French Oak were fascinating. A globetrotter for most of her life, and fluent in six languages, Delia feels right at home in Europe. It was a wildly successful visit.
Please share the post with your wine friends and be sure to pay Viader a visit next time you’re in the area. We’d love to show you around the winery and vineyards.
This past weekend on June 15, 2013, we were 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley at Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery (2000 Summit Lake Dr Angwin, CA) on Howell Mountain to celebrate the wonderful Napa Valley Grapegrowers and their guest bidders from their annual fundraiser STOMP, which occurs later this summer. The special mountainside property really came alive for an evening under the stars in perfect weather. It was quite a family affair for us, with Janet pouring an array of Viader wines, from the velvety soft 2011 DARE Cabernet Franc to the mighty Magnum of 2008 VIADER Proprietary Red Blend (Comprised of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon & 31% Cabernet Franc).
Other family members playing a key role this evening included our amazing Mariela Viader, who catered the farm-to-table dinner for almost 200 guests as hubbie Alan manned the BBQ. He spent over 24 hours roasting two 60-pound pigs and another 60 pounds of various pork shoulders to pair with the different Napa Valley wines and side dishes. Mariela prepared a plate of roasted seasonal vegetables, a wonderful heirloom tomato salad and homemade cornbread. The meal was remarkable and as the sun disappeared behind the mountains, guests helped themselves to roast-your-own marshmallow campfire s’mores while others danced salsa under a disco ball. We enjoy being involved in community events such as this, sharing great food and wine from our family to yours! Thanks to the Napa Valley Grapegrowersfor organizing such an amazing evening.
Please take a look at our photos to get a glimpse of the festivities!