Mt. Brave 2013 Mount Veeder, Napa Valley Malbec
95 Points - ANTONIO GALLONI, VinousMedia.com, October 2015
HISTORY - Mt. Brave Vineyard sits high atop Mt. Veeder at an elevation of 1,400 to 1,800 feet. The estate, on the western flank of Napa Valley, is named for the native Wappos who first called it home. Mt. Veeder has been planted to wine grapes since the early 1860s by such winemaking pioneers as Charles Krug, Agoston Haraszthy, Frederick Hess and William S. Keyes, and wines from Mt. Veeder achieved recognition as early as the Paris Exposition of 1900. The parcel that became Mt. Brave Vineyard, in the northern reaches of the Mt. Veeder American Viticultural Area (AVA), was originally purchased in 1841—before the Gold Rush and the Civil War.
VINEYARD - High-elevation winegrowing requires a painstaking, labor-intensive approach. Thin, rocky soils and steep slopes make water retention a challenge and erosion a threat, but the vines’ beneficial struggle produces tiny berries with unusually concentrated flavors. The high altitude keeps midday temperatures cooler than those in the valley below, while the position above the fog
line gives grapes longer daily exposure to sunlight. This regularly extends the growing season into November, and the increased hang-time results in peak ripeness and full varietal complexity.
WINEMAKING - We hand-harvested grapes into lug boxes during cool morning hours, at an average Brix of 26.5°. The wine fermented in stainless steel and then underwent native malolactic fermentation in barrels to round acidity and softly integrate the vanillin character of French oak (56% new). After barrel aging for 19 months, the wine was bottled without fining or filtration.
WINEMAKER’S COMMENTS - The 2013 growing season was another near perfect year. With only a day or two approaching 100 degrees, temperatures were
steady and in the sweet spot of 85°-95°F. Dry conditions throughout allowed for ideal maturation and flavor concentration. On the palate of the 2013 Mt. Brave Malbec killer spice overlays rich boysenberry and black currants. A pop of fruit carries across to the finish which is clearly mountain structure based.
Composition 100% Malbec
Harvest Dates October 22 to October 25
Fermentation Native yeast fermentation
Maceration 20 days
Barrel Aging 19 months in French oak (56% new)
Alc. by Vol. 14.5%
Wine pH 3.72
Wine Acidity 0.58g/100ml
Vineyard Mt. Brave Vineyard