Sourced from several vineyards situated above 500 feet in elevation on Diamond Mountain, the 2006 Von Strasser Diamond Mountain Cabernet is bright ruby in color with a hint of garnet, and surprisingly light in color for those of us accustomed to heavily extracted Napa Valley versions. But that is kind of the point: this is mountain Cab, a very different beast from wines grown on the valley floor below.
This entry-level offering provides a great example of what is special about high-elevation vineyards. Cool nights allow the grapes to ripen slowly, retaining acidity as the flavors come together, resulting in balanced wines capable of showing off the terroir in which they are grown. The nose is loaded with intense blackberry, cassis, tobacco, leather, and a beautiful floral characteristic. Black fruit carries through on the palate, with a hint of the earth and spice typical of Diamond Mountain’s volcanic soils. The tannin is firm at this stage, but rounds out with a little bit of air, and along with great acidity provides nice structure and a long, persistent black cherry finish.
A perfect introduction to the mountain vineyards around Napa, this wine demonstrates that it is possible to produce wines with Old World elegance and New World power; with richness and balance. A value at its release price, this is a steal at $42, and possesses the stuffing to improve with 3-5 years of cellaring and hold for at least 10 years.
88% Cabernet Sauvignon
3% Cabernet FrancAppellation:
100% Diamond Mountain District
Cooperage: 100% French Oak 50% New Barrels 22 months in barrel
Maceration: 24 days
Release Date: June 2008
Production: 2450 Cases
With a family connection to Eric de Rothschild, Rudy wrote a letter asking to do an internship at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each year the Chateau had been hiring an intern from the French winemaking program at Montpellier. Thinking that two minds are better than one, Mr. Rothschild invited Rudy to work for the 1985 harvest as their first American intern. (The result was so successful, that each year since the Chateau has chosen a new Davis graduate to work as an intern at the winery.) Rudy returned to Napa Valley in the spring of 1986 and was hired as the enologist at Trefethen Winery and Vineyards. In 1988, he became the assistant winemaker in charge of production at Newton Vineyards in St. Helena.
Shortly after their marriage in 1989, Rudy and Rita von Strasser set out looking for a vineyard property to make their home. Having already developed a deep passion and talent for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Rudy was committed that the property must be in a microclimate blessed with the ability to grow and produce the finest red wines in Napa Valley; wines worthy to carry the von Strasser family name. Serendipitously, the old Roddis Estate Winery on Diamond Mountain had just been put on the market, and in the spring of 1990, the von Strasser label was born.