What We Say 2007 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Random Ridge has quickly become one of our operatives’ favorite boutique wineries and today’s exceptional selection shows why the esteemed Mount Veeder region is so prized for delicious Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Mission Codename: Next In The Line Up
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Random Ridge and secure an allocation of their latest Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Random Ridge
Wine Subject: 2007 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Bill Hawley
Mt. Veeder, located on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas range has a climate that is cooler than the valley floor below. This climate and the more difficult (less fertile) volcanic mountain soil influence the flavors of the wines from this region. Best known for Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder vineyards produce grapes of exceptional character and intensity.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Extremely dark garnet and purple with a dense, nearly black core that is only clear when held to the light. Along the edges the color remains deep purple and when swirled this seemingly thick wine settles quickly leaving broadly spaced slow legs along the side of the glass.
Smell – Rich and bold black and red fruit including red and black cherry, plum and blackberry are laced with hot spice, wild fennel and dark earthy minerality. A sturdy toasted and smokey oak component makes its presence known and blends with bramble herbs and other savory notes.
Feel – This full-bodied and dry wine shows all the textural character you’d expect from its mountain fruit. Sturdy and finely etched tannins blend with dusty mineral notes and lively acidity giving this wine an exceptional and expansive structure and mouthfeel.
Taste – Plush and ripe dark black cherry red cherry, raspberry, plum and blackberry fruit lead the way are are immediately followed by toasted oak and hot spice. The generous and slightly tangy fruit glides over the palate and is buttressed by this wine’s other complex notes of dark cocoa, wild anise, savory herbs and dusty earthy undertones.
Finish – Extremely long, with a the textured and etched mouthfeel component grasping onto the rich and ripe fruit as the other flavors gently fade away leaving behind only the sip inspiring mouth drying tannins and minerality.
Overall – Once again Bill Hawley really delivers with his 2007 Random Ridge Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. A fantastic mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with great mouthfeel and texture, generous fruit and other complex aromas and flavors and a finish that lingers for several minutes. A great wine to enjoy all by itself in front of the fire or paired with grilled game or a giant bone-in rib-eye steak. Enjoy this wine now (decant or let it breath) or cellar for seven to ten years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
WINE EDUCATION: Bill graduated with honors with a degree in poetry from Sonoma State College in 1974. His senior project focused on the influence of Zen Buddhism on the poetry of the San Francisco renaissance and the Beats.
He met Phil Coturri studying poetry at college and was inspired by him and his brother Tony in the cult of winemaking and grapegrowing. He has taken courses in winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis extension, Napa College, and Santa Rosa Junior College. He has traveled to many wine regions to study winemaking and surfing, including France (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Languedoc, Champagne), Spain (Rioja), Portugal, Madeira, Chile, Baja Mexico, New Zealand, and Australia (Margaret River).
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Bill lived and worked at BR Cohn Vineyards in 1975, spending a full season on the Cohn ranch in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. He worked at Kenwood Winery in 1977 and In 1978 helped build a winery in Sonoma for Walter Benson that later became Haywood and is now Ravenswood. He then worked as vineyard manager for Chalone at Carmenet Vineyards from 1982-1988, and at the same time planted the first vines at Random Ridge.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Wine is made in the vineyard
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Grow good grapes and get out of the way.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1988
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Bill. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BILL HAWLEY: It’s always great to be on another mission with you, Agent White!
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BILL: In grapegrowing, Joe Miami, the longtime manager at Louis Martini’s Monte Rosso. In winemaking, I was very intrigued by Martin Ray at Mt. Eden and Andre Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu. Later, Dick Graff from Chalone opened my eyes wide to the pleasure of food and wine combinations.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BILL: A perfect growing season with extended hang time led to a leisurely and bountiful harvest of luscious ripe grapes from a single vineyard, meticulously farmed at 2200’ on the edge of an ancient caldera. With a minimalist & gentle hand in the cellar, the synergistic typicité of Bordeaux varietals (6% Cabernet Franc) show a wine vibrant with personality & well endowed, powerful, intense, effusive, balanced, persistent & focused terroir driven – a true expression of a special spot on earth. Dark extracted and generous in flavor, fleshy, hedonistic, plush, engaging, redolent in red currant, plum, spice, licorice, cocoa, cedar & garrique with an explosion of pure fruit properly bottle conditioned & good to go.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BILL: I like it paired with meats grilled over a wood fire of manzanita or seasoned oak barrel staves. Rack of lamb with potato risotto is also a perfect accompaniment. This wine also works well with rustic crusty bread and local goat cheese.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
BILL: I make wines that suit my palate. I am not making wines for review, I am making wine for myself, my family, and my friends and that I hope reach out to kindred souls who appreciate a rich man’s wine at a poor man’s price.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Mr. Veeder appellation so special?
BILL: It’s the elevation, inclination, climate, rocks, and volcanic soil. What’s not often talked about with grapegrowing in the mountains is that we are above the fog, and the intensity of the sunlight influences the flavors and colors of the grapes. Growing grapes up here takes a certain maverick spirit and tenacity — this is labor-intensive viticulture. We have a long growing season and the vines struggle to survive. All farming up here is a hand job.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BILL: Just finishing up the pruning and tying. Looking at an early budbreak, makes for a worrisome frost period. In the winery, assessing the 2011s and working on blending trials for the bottling of the 2010s.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BILL: With a meal or without, in crystal or a mason jar, but definitely with friends and by candlelight.
WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Mt. Veeder Appellation in Napa can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
A perfect growing season with extended hang time led to a leisurely and bountiful harvest of luscious ripe grapes from a single vineyard, meticulously farmed at 2200’ on the edge of an ancient caldera. With a minimalist & gentle hand in the cellar, the synergistic typicité of Bordeaux varietals (6% Cabernet Franc) show a wine vibrant with personality & well endowed, powerful, intense, effusive, balanced, persistent & focused terroir driven – a true expression of a special spot on earth. Dark extracted and generous in flavor, fleshy, hedonistic, plush, engaging, redolent in red currant, plum, spice, licorice, cocoa, cedar & garrique with an explosion of pure fruit properly bottle conditioned & good to go.
About The Vineyard:
On the edge of an ancient caldera on the western border of the Mount Veeder District, Random Ridge is a 47-acre ranch that straddles the Napa and Sonoma county line at an elevation of 2300 feet. Bill Hawley built the family home with recycled materials in 1980 and planted the first vines in the spring of 1982. The vineyard is currently 10 acres densely planted with a simple vertical trellis system, yielding roughly 1.5 tons per acre. The soil is decomposed volcanics, tuff, and solid rock.
About Random Ridge:
Random Ridge produces fine wines from vineyards pioneered by the Hawley family in the Mayacamas mountains of Napa County, California. We also write poetry, surf, and practice sustainable agriculture.
Random Ridge produces wines in very limited quantities from vines meticulously maintained to reflect the essence of the soils in which they grow.
We are farmers first but will surf anytime anywhere. Our dedication in the vineyards naturally segues into traditional winemaking practices in the cellar.
We strive to enable the fruit to develop its inherent Buddha nature to become wine of complexity harmony & passion.
Varietals: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon. 6% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley