From the biggest of the three vineyards, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill comes from pure volcanic, iron-rich, rocky white tufa of volcanic origin. Marginally speaking, this is bluer and blacker than the Red Rock Terrace or Gravelly Meadow. A tour de force of perfection, this wine offers up crème de cassis, blueberry liqueur, licorice, earth, truffle and graphite. It displays spectacular richness, magnificent balance and texture, and a long, incredibly pure finish of close to a minute. This remarkable, full-bodied elixir should drink beautifully for another 30+ years, if not longer. One of the iconic wineries of Napa Valley, Diamond Creek’s vineyards were planted in 1968 in three distinctive soil types over 20 acres on Diamond Mountain. Some of the most extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignons have emerged from these sites, especially in the early 1970s – 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1978 are all legendary wines that are still fabulous today. The 2013s are all 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French oak. (RP)
In 35 years of blind tastings, I have never come across a California cabernet that handles oak as graciously as this vintage of Diamond Creek’s Volcanic Hill. In recent vintages, winemaker Phil Steinschriber has adopted the somewhat controversial practice of introducing a second round of new oak barrels during the aging of his Cabernets. He does it selectively, and in 2013, it may have helped to both tame the wine and frame it for long aging. Volcanic Hill starts out with a trumpet blare of black cherry flavor, a deep blue savor to the fruit, an explosive richness that’s transformed into silken delicacy by its time in oak, in the way that a young Charmes-Chambertin might feel in a great vintage. This vineyard, on a south-facing slope of white volcanic ash, often produces the most powerful of Diamond Creek’s wines. As I tasted this wine over the course of several days, there was a moment in the chaos of a young Napa Valley Cabernet when it reached the sublime.
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill presents a stunning interplay of ripe, inky fruit and structure. Dazzling from the first impression, the Volcanic Hill exudes richness, with copious amounts of inky blue/purplish fruit, violet, licorice and graphite. This stunning, captivating Cabernet has the potential to offer truly thrilling drinking for a number of decades. The vibrant, salivating finish is a thing of beauty. This south-facing site is the first to be harvested. (AG) 97+
Lots of blackberries, plums and cherries on the nose. Full body, ultra-velvety tannins and a long, long finish. A broad and layered red with refined textures. Very long. Juicy. Riper than the Red Rock and Gravelly Meadow.
Refined, precise, tight yet well-stuffed and in every way a wine that impresses from first to last, this one is oriented to cassis-like fruit with hints of loamy soils and bacony oak adding their voices to the ripe, fairly concentrated yet balanced aromas and flavors here. It is perhaps the most structured of a solidly built lot, yet even with up to a decade of sure aging potential, and probably more beyond that, there is not a hint of excess to its youthfully tannic texture.
Beautiful kirsch and cassis nose with cocoa and damp, earthy undertones. Incredible vibrancy with beautiful fine grained tannins. Layers of cocoa, graphite, baked earth and superbly concentrated dark fruits on the palate. Such wonderful balance of power and elegance, this wine will age immensely well, yet is still extremely enjoyable now. (AC)
From an eight acre block of the producer’s iconic estate, this is a velvety smooth, darkly colored wine, luxuriously structured to age yet deliciously appealing now. Chocolate, blackberry, currant and a leathery, smoky edge combine forcefully on the palate with length and breadth. *Cellar Selection* (VB)
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