1998 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace Diamond Mountain California USA Wine Tasting Note


1998 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace  (Diamond Mountain) 89

Medium-bodied, and clearly on the bright red berry side of the style range, the fruit is not fully ripe here. Earthy and tobacco-oriented, the tannins have a rustic edge, making this lean wine a bit overly classic for my taste. This is fully developed, there is no reason to hold it any longer. 89 Points

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Everything about Diamond Creek Vineyards, Napa Valley California Cabernet Sauvignon wine producer profile, wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines

Diamond Creek History, Overview

Albert Jack Brounstein created Diamond Creek in 1968 with his purchase of 79 acres in the Diamond Creek canyon. It's a good thing the land was bought by Al Brounstein because the owner at the time was considering turning the site into a golf course! Al Brounstein became interested in wine after taking a wine class at UCLA. He started out working as sales rep for Sebastiani vineyards. He furthered his studies by working weekends at Ridge vineyards. At the time, his concept was way ahead of its time. Al Brounstein's desire to create multiple single vineyard wines from Diamond Creek was unique in its day.

The stated goal of Diamond Creek was to display the differences in the terroirs and micro climates found in each unique, vineyard site; Volcanic Hill, Gravelly Meadow, Red Rock Terrace and Lake Vineyards. Diamond Creek gets another award for being the first California winery to produce wine made from only 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. After purchasing the land for the then very expensive price of $1,400 per acre, Al Brounstein began replanted some of the acreage with vines that came from two of the First Growths in Bordeaux. The vines were smuggled in through Mexico! Sadly, the colorful, Al Bournstein died in 2006 at 86 years of age. He was survived by his second wine, Boots Brounstein, their son, Boots Bournstein; son Gary Brounstein and two stepsons Phil Ross and Chuck Ross, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Phil Ross and Boots Bournstein are in charge of managing Diamond creek today.

Diamond Creek Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking

The vineyards of Diamond Creek are situated on different soils, but they share some commonalities. Located in the narrow Diamond Creek canyon, the parcels are all close to the same 600 foot elevation and they were planted from budwood obtained from some of the First Growth wines of Bordeaux. Or so the legend goes. The first Diamond Creek wines came from the poor 1972 vintage. But even in that difficult, first vintage, Al Brounstein was able to see the differences in each of the wines due to their distinctive soil types.

Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill is an 8 acre vineyard planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Petit Verdot on a terroir consisting of volcanic ash that was deposited from Mt. Konocti on a south facing slope. Due to the vast differences in the elevations and slope, Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill can take as long as 3 to 4 weeks for the harvest to finish. The Volcanic Hill vineyard has a slightly warmer micro climate and because of that extra heat, Volcanic Hill is always the first of the Diamond Creek vineyards to be harvest. The wine is aged using 100% new, French oak barrels.

Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace is a 7 acre, vineyard planted with Cabernet Sauvignon on red tinted clay soil with a large amount of iron deposits on a steep grade with a northern exposure. And yes, as you would expect, the vineyard is planted using a series of terraces as the hillside plantings are quite steep. When you look at the vineyards, you clearly see the red soils which gave the vineyard its name. Red Rock Terrace is almost always the second of their vineyards to be picked. The wine is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels.

Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow is a 5 acre parcel planted to Cabernet Sauvignon on a pre-historic river bed, with rocky, gravel based soils. This parcel does not have the same level of elevation as the other parcels. The first vintage for Gravelly Meadow was the 1974 vintage. This came out 2 years after wines from the other vineyards were produced. The Gravelly Meadow vineyard is dry farmed. Aside from Lake vineyards, this is the lowest yielding vineyard in their portfolio. The wine is aged using 100% new, French oak barrels.

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Diamond Creek Lake Vineyards is the estates smallest site. It takes up only ¾ acre. It is also the coolest of all the Diamond Creek micro climates. The site is also wettest as it's situated as you would imagine next to a lake. Lake Vineyard is not made every year. The wine is only produced when the specific quality of the vintage warrants it. In fact, since Diamond Creek Lake was first produced in 1978, it has only been made 14 times over the past 40 years. When the wine is not made, the grapes are blended in with Gravelly Meadow. Diamond Creek Lake Vineyard has the coolest terroir out of all their sites and is the last to be harvested. Lake vineyards is one of two vineyards that is completely dry farmed. On those rare occasions when the wine is made, it's aged using 100% new, French oak barrels.

From time to time, a blend of all three vineyards has been bottled. Other special bottling's include Special Selections and First and Second Pickings. In at least 4 vintages, 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993, Diamond Creek made a Gravelly Meadow Lake Blend. A few vintages have been produced from each of three main terroirs, Gravelly Hill, Red Rock Terrace and Volcanic Hill that are named Micro Climate on the label. Special labels were produced for Diamond Creek wines for each of the vineyards to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

Diamond Creek Vineyards Napa Valley

The wines of Diamond Creek are vinified in stainless steel tanks. The wines are now aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for up to 22 months, depending on the character of the vintage and the vineyard. The average production for all 21 acres is on average close to 3,000 cases per vintage. In 2006, Al Bourstein passed away. His family continues to manage the Diamond Creek estate today.

Serving and Decanting Diamond Creek with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Diamond Creek wines are best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages of their red wine can be decanted for 1-3 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.

The wine of Diamond Creek is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Diamond Creek is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.

I've been fortunate to have tasted most of the pre 1990 Diamond Creek wines several times. For my palate, these wines are compelling. In blind tasting's, the 78 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill can stand up to many of the best First Growth wines from Bordeaux. At 33 years of age, they are still young, fresh, vibrant and exacting. Sadly, after 1984, things changed and they were no longer making at the same level of quality. After a slow period of almost 25 years, recent vintages have shown a lot more promise. Hopefully, fortunes will continue to change and they will keep increasing the levels of quality found in their unique style of California wine. The 2009 vintage seems to have sparked the revival of fortunes at Diamond Creek Vineyards and the 2012 tasted recently was a knock out! All three vineyard designated wines were stunning.