Wine of the Week: 2012 Brandlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California

This time of year I love to revel in reds. Big, bold, complex, luxurious reds. And what better place to find them than California’s Napa Valley? Recently, I had the pleasure of sampling one such red wine – our Wine of the Week, the 2012 Brandlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder.

Who it’s from: The Brandlin family were early pioneers of Mount Veeder and began farming grapes there in the early 1870’s. The Brandlin Vineyard was founded in 1926 by Chester Brandlin’s grandfather, and Chester himself continued to farm the vineyard for over 50 years. In an interview featured on the winery’s website, Brandlin fondly recalls growing grapes during the tough Prohibition years which ultimately devastated California’s budding wine industry. How did the family avoid getting caught? “We were good friends with the Sheriff,” Brandlin remarked coyly.


Chester Brandlin in the family’s Brandlin Vineyard on Mount Veeder

As winemaker for Napa Valley’s Cuvaison and Brandlin since 2002, both of Cuvaison Estate Wines, Steven Rogstad honed his sense of terroir as a graduate student of Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis. During his studies, Rogstad experimented with non-commercial yeast strains on lots of wine from fifty different wineries across the appellation. This project also developed his ability to work with and blend small lots which is crucial to his winemaking style today. Over the years, Rogstad has worked with and advised such well-regarded names as Viader, Dominus, Duckhorn and Spottswoode. He was ultimately draw to Cuvaison’s estate vineyard in Carneros as well as the opportunity to build their new winery from the ground up.


Where it’s from: Named for Dutch Pastor Peter Veeder in the mid-1800’s, Mount Veeder is located among the southern Mayacamas mountains adjoining Carneros. Existing within the Napa AVA, the Mount Veeder AVA (American Viticultural Area) was established in 1993 and features vineyards which are highly exposed to elements including the winds off of San Pablo Bay. This exposure is responsible for Mount Veeder’s unusually cool temperatures, resulting in the longest growing season of any AVA in Napa Valley.

“Steep rocky soils and a moderate climate render intense, black fruited concentration and a powerful backbone of tannin that make this wine unique.”
– Steven Rogstad, Winemaker

The Brandlin Vineyard is located on a Mount Veeder ridgeline on the valley’s west side. Perched at 900 to 1,150 feet in elevation, the vineyard is divided into 15 different blocks facing a multitude of different aspects. The varied differences in sun exposure, slope and soil composition provide distinct fruit characteristics in each block. These unique conditions have led to Mount Veeder’s well-deserved reputation as an ideal place to grow world class Cabernet Sauvignon characterized by briary aromas and flavors with herbal and floral notes which are often powerful and high in tannin.


Beautiful Old Vines in the Brandlin Vineyard

Wine by the (Geeky) Numbers:
Harvest Date: Oct 11- 30
Age of Vines: 12 years average
Fermentation: 15 – 28 days
Barrel Aging: 22 months in small French oak barrels (50% new)
ML: 100%
Blend: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot
Alcohol: 14.5%
Acid: 6.2
pH: 3.70

The Glamorous Gourmet’s Tasting Note: The Brandlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder possesses an opaque, deep purple color and aromas of spiced red and black fruit. On the palate, this opulent wine demonstrates remarkable balance while exhibiting notes of ripe blackberry, cassis, earth and luxuriously firm tannins. The wine’s harmonious flavors and textures hold together beautifully on the long, lingering finish.

Pair it with: Enjoy this immensely pleasurable wine with a juicy, well-marbled New York Strip Steak, our own delicious Steak au Poivre or even an aged cheese. Roast duck or pork with a blackberry sauce would also be fabulous!

MSRP: $68 (for purchasing information, please e-mail or call 561.317.6663)

Bon appétit,


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Stephanie Miskew
Stephanie Miskew