Mark Aselstine
May 24, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

Tasting Cabernet on Atlas Peak

Gorgeous View from Atlas Peak


During a recent trip to wine country in February we had a chance to spend a few hours visiting a winery on Atlas Peak. Although the winery is going to remain nameless for the time being since it is set to be included in a future shipment, we’ll file an update and likely an interview with the owner/winemaker once we’ve shipped his impressive Cabernet Sauvignon.

Atlas Peak has began receiving some attention nationally for the Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the mountain vineyards with a front page story even appearing on Wine Enthusiast Magazine in January.

The AVA has gained attention largely due to the success of Stagecoach Vineyard which has been used by such wine luminaries such as Uncorked Ventures favorite Paul Hobbs, Caymus, Plumpjack, Quintessa, and Pahlmeyer. Stagecoach is a good example of how the weather conditions create an interesting mix on Atlas Peak. Summer daytime temperatures are warm and since most plantings occur above the fog line, the average temperature sit at just below the level as the Oakville mean for Napa Valley. Nightime temperature drops are common partially because the AVA sits almost directly north of Carneros and receives the same type of maritime influence which has made Carneros famous.

So why try wine from Atlas Peak? To start, it offers a nice quality/price ratio as a relatively unknown AVA within Napa Valley. Secondly, mountain fruit has become more and more expensive during the past few vintages which have offered abundant enough sunshine to achieve full ripeness. Without the fog, ripeness should never be a major concern on Atlas Peak and it should offer a nice alternative to more pricy and well known AVA’s such as Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain and Diamond Mountain.


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