Napa Valley Cab young but drinkable

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Dark ruby in color, the Mount Veeder Winery 2009 Cabernet offers aromas of plum and anise. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

2009 Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California

Suggested retail: $ 29.99

Napa Valley is categorized into several appellations, each with its own unique flavor profile, with the valley floor being subdivided into the Vaca Mountain Range to the east and the Mayacamas Mountains to the west.

The backbone of the Mayacamas are Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain and Mount Veeder. While the wines from each ridge have a singular identity, the vineyards of Mount Veeder are carefully carved into the forested landscape with an isolated rustic beauty.

At one of the highest elevations, these rocky soils are influenced by a cool temperate climate and fog line, which yield intensely concentrated and slower ripening, mountain-style fruit.

Farming began on these rugged hillsides in the late 1800s but it wasn't until 1973 that Mount Veeder Winery made its appearance on the market under owners Michael and Arlene Bernstein. Originally it was destined to be a retreat until Michael planted 60 rootstock cuttings that have since expanded to 40 acres of planted vineyards.

The 2009 Mount Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from mountainside and valley floor fruit with a blend of 82 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 percent Merlot, 4 percent Petite Verdot and 1 percent of Malbec and Syrah.

In some vintages these wines require additional patience before consuming, but with the perfect growing conditions of 2009, this may be one of the prettiest and most accessible of the Mount Veeder Winery releases to date.

Dark ruby with enticing aromas of dark plum and anise showcase a sweet and broad mid-palate of black currant jelly, underbrush and espresso roast. The tannins are nicely integrated and this wine has a layered mouth-feel that may nicely complement a grilled veal chop with morel mushrooms.<