“To buy very good wine nowadays requires only money. To serve it to your guests is a sign of fatigue.” – William F. Buckley
Michael and Arlene Bernstein bought a large Napa Valley prune orchard in the early 1960’s to use as a rustic retreat, and like many Napa ranchers, they replanted the land to grape vines, reasoning that the combination of the altitude (1,000′-1,600′) plus the challenging soil would support their ultimately and uniquely developed vision of planting all five classic Bordeaux varieties of grapes. Their first vintage was 1973, and they were off to the high altitude races.
In my previous columns, I’ve tended to review and promote wines that reflect the financial “sweet spot” of many of us, candidates that ranged in price between $3.99 and $25.00, with only a few exceptions. Rarely have I encountered and reviewed exceedingly expensive wines. In their defense, I do think that a number of wineries, especially in France, can justify nearly stratospheric prices. Don’t get me wrong – the wines are good, but my parsimonious Milwaukee pocketbook will not open for Bordeaux wines that fetch prices north of $500.00 per bottle. Mon dieu!
Enter Mount Veeder Reserve wine – not reasonable, but very, very good, I found today. Even though it is seemingly dear to many of us, I feel today that one can almost justify scraping together spare pennies, dimes and shekels to pop for a wine like Mount Veeder Winery Reserve, priced at between $74.50 and $80.00.
Recently, I popped a bottle of their 2006 Napa Valley wine, a fascinating blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. In short, not since the glory days of Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon have I been so impressed. Here are my tasting notes:
This wine had a plum red hue and carried fascinatingly heavy body. The nose was almost hauntingly deep, with intricate weaving of more plum, black cherry, eucalyptus, and a kiss of barely raisiny cassis with a touch of clove. On the palate, its clever blend was obvious, with each varietal grape bringing a different note to this symphony of flavors. Terms like more plum, cherry and the pensive, firm structure of Cabernet Sauvignon all come to mind, as this blend delivers a most satiating sensual experience.
This baby is the perfect candidate, budget permitting, for entertaining fine friends and enjoying life’s many blessings. For those of you who truly value value, Mount Veeder Reserve, in my book, may be a worthy candidate for choice over an added IRA contribution. An easy A+!
Cheers to you, Mount Veeder!