Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Napa-high above the valley floor

High above the valley floor, away from the hubbub of highway 29, there is a different world, a world of rustic tranquillity, narrow winding roads and steep slopes growing vines and grapes with character rarely seen in the corporate world down below. On the west side, there are the Mayacamas Mountains, Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain, on the east side Howell Mountain among others. Some of the most curmudgeonly, tough and determined pioneers such as Travers at Mayacamas and Togni on Spring Mountain have been scratching out a living from the soil and making exactly the wines they want regardless of the current trend toward in your face "fruitbombs" ready to drink the night you bring it home

Joining this group in making wine since 1990 is Larry Stricker and his son David at Godspeed Vineyards. These folks are the real thing. Heck they don't even have a marketing plan. David tends the vineyard under the watchful eye of their dog Sam. Larry makes wine in the style he likes - slightly tart Chardonnay, big structured Cabs that go well with food and need to age.

Godspeed is just up the road from Mount Veeder Winery which is still making fabulous mountain wine as witnessed by their 2000 Bordeaux style blend of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc and Petite Verdot. Down below at the base of of the Oakville Grade Road, Far Niente is busily turning out "perfect" Chardonnay, Cabernet and Dolce( a Sauterne wannabe) which are quite good but lack the character of mountain wines made by mountain men in what is left of God's country.

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