The trade tasting was a rare opportunity to see a group of wine producers from this isolated appellation, in the Mayacamas Mountains bordering Napa Valley, together under one roof. In the nine-year history of the appellation, these vintners have held only two other similar events.
Following the tasting, dedicated Mount Veeder fans paid $95 each for a sumptuous five-course, 12-wine dinner, prepared by Campanile's chef-owners Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton. During dinner, several speakers--including event emcee Peter Rubissow of Rubissow-Sargent winery, Bob Travers of Mayacamas Vineyards and Lore Olds of Sky Vineyards--tried to put their fingers on just what it is that makes Mount Veeder wines different. Even the muses were evoked, as self-described "surfer-poet" Bill Hawley of Random Ridge read aloud several of his poems about the rugged mountain viticultural area.
The wines themselves had their own story to tell, of thin soils, high elevation, scant water and low yields. And judging from the likes of Mayacamas Chardonnay 1996, Robert Craig Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, Mount Veeder Reserve 1995, Wing Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 and Franus Zinfandel "Brandlin Ranch" 1996, they told it quite eloquently, too.