• Learys Liquor Cabinet

Ancient Seabed springs Award-Winning Wine—MT. BRAVE Mt. Verdeer Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

This week, our manager, Armando has chosen the highly rated Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon (375ML half-bottle) 2014 at $34.99, that's a $15 savings!

Estate History

Over 150 years ago, Presbyterian pastor, Peter Verdeer, routinely climbed the peaks of Napa Valley. Crossing creeks and scaling canyons, Verdeer admired what he found in these elevations reaching upward to 2,677 feet. Beneath his feet was soil that would yield Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which would become award-winning wine.

Wine has been crafted from Mt. Veeder soils since the early 1860s. Captain Stalham Wing, who arrived in 1853, showed the first Mt. Veeder wine at the Napa County Fair in 1864. Reaching elevations of 1,800 feet, and originally known as Chateau Potelle Vineyard, Mt. Brave Vineyard was founded decades ago.

Vineyard Notes

Mt. Veeder, established in 1993, is the largest AVA in the Napa Valley. The mountain is 25 square miles, or 15,000 acres, stretching from the Carneros to Oakville, down the grade to Glen Ellen. Yet just 1,000 acres are planted to grapes, less than 2 percent of Napa Valley’s production with the lowest average yields in the region. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted variety.

While much of Napa Valley is a mixture of 30 different soils, all traced to volcanic activity, much of Mt. Veeder is an ancient seabed, with thin, rocky soils typically 12 to 24 inches deep. Steep slopes of up to 30 degrees have an array of exposures, creating micro-climates around every twisting turn. San Pablo Bay brings cooling maritime influences and serves to moderate the daily temperature swings. It is not uncommon for Mt. Veeder to enjoy daytime temperatures 10° to 15° cooler than those on the Napa Valley floor.

The growing season moves slowly, with harvest here stretching into November, another reminder of how extreme the challenge is but how rewarding the results can be.

Winemaker Notes

The Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder without overt tannins and 2014 is a great example of that proposition.

Black and red berry characters with hints of herb, Asian spice, espresso, and toast combine with floral notes, weight, and a wonderful finish.

Tasting Notes

Winemaker Chris Carpenter says “Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to show all that is Mt. Veeder without overt tannins, and 2014 is a great example of that proposition". I say, is it ever; the finesse of this wine and the silkiness of the 2014 tannins is other-worldly. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and goes through malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels (89 percent new). After some 19 months of barrel aging, it is bottled without fining or filtration. The attack mixes black raspberry/blackberry fruit, dried herbs, and blueberries with a floral, mineral undercurrent that perfectly meshes with the silky tannins. The blend is 90.5/4/3.5/2 cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec. Cellar for a decade.—Anthony Goldsmith

Critical Acclaim

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

95 Points

The top score, though, has to go to the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is 90.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest small quantities of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. This wine has an opaque purple color, a big, sweet kiss of blueberry and blackberry liqueur, some graphite, a juicy, full-bodied, savory mouthfeel, and excellent purity and underlying balance. This seamlessly rich mountain Cabernet Sauvignon should age effortlessly for two decades or more.

Wilfred Wong of

94 Points

Showing outstanding freshness and zip, the red-fruited 2014 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits pinpoint fruit quality. Fresh on the palate, this is one of the best-structured wines in the marketplace from the Mount Veeder AVA.

Food Pairing

Pair it with a double-thick grilled pork chop.

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Loretto Leary for Leary's Liquor Cabinet