Diamond Mountain Wine History
The History of Diamond Mountain Wine Production
Few others attempted to cultivate the isolated soils during these early years. Settlers slowly moved to the region, and in 1909, a school was established in the region. Local wine production on remained scarce through the ensuing disasters of phylloxera and Prohibition. Even after repeal, things would not pick up for a while.
For such a Cab dominated region, Diamond Mountain was ironically revived by sparkling wine producers. In 1965, Jack and Jamie Davies bought the old Schramsberg property. They revitalized the production facilities and began making sparkling wine. Although the winery is on Diamond Mountain, the grapes are sourced from over 60 different vineyards throughout California. The mountain’s climate is a bit hot for growing acidic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Jamie Davies once remarked, “When we resurrected Schramsberg, our goal was to produce truly world-class méthode champenoise sparkling wines. We replanted the historic vineyards to chardonnay and pinot noir. Over the course of the next 30 years, it became apparent [however] that the Schram land was better suited to the cultivation of red Bordeaux varieties.” In response, the J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon made its debut in 2001.
Al Brounstein planted the first Cabernet Sauvignon on the mountain in 1968. His wines are some of the rarest and most sought after in California. In 1970, Andre Tchelistcheff began developing vines for Roddis Cellars. 20 years later, Rudy von Strasser bought the vineyard and winery.
The traditional red Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, have defined wine production on the mountain since the late 1960s. The AVA has a reputation for producing tannic and age worthy Cabernet Sauvignons. Conventional wisdom indicates that one should not open these wines until they have mellowed for several years. This generalization is changing and many current Cabs from the mountain are delightful when they are quite young.
Producers have accomplished this by balancing the naturally strong tannins with increased fruit and acidity. Most of these wines are still excellent candidates for aging. Constant Diamond Mountain Vineyard produces a very well rounded Bordeaux blend with grapes from the AVA. They are one of the most exciting and consistent new producers in the valley.
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