Robert Craig winery represents a style and approach to wine that everyone can relate to. I have met Robert “bob” on many different occasions but I recently had the opportunity to speak with him at one of his wine tastings in Scottsdale. We both share a passion for Mount Veeder wines (a small Appalachia in Napa Valley) because of the structure and unique qualities the grapes absorb from the terroir in this region. It is because of Bob’s initiative that we all can enjoy wines from this unique Appalachia. I found out that while Bob was working with Hess Winery (in the 1980’s) he established a foundation of the Mount Veeder Appellation in 1990, making Mount Veeder a designated mountain grape growing region in Napa Valley. It was incredible to be in the presence of someone as innovative as Robert Craig and we all owe him our gratitude and respect for his accomplishments as a winemaker.
Because of Bob’s history with Mount Veeder I thought it would be very appropriate to discuss the 2004 Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine represents the best of the best from Mount Veeder ; grown on a single vineyard in the mountains signature chalky soil at 1800 feet on a hillside, then aged 20 months in French oak . The soil is the key to what makes Mount Veeder different from Howell Mountain or other appalachias in Napa Valley. The soil has a very slow absorbtion rate so the vines have to search harder for moisture in the soil, this helps the grapes become super concentrated while still maintaining a balance of fruit to tannins. The tannins were not overpowering at all and that’s what surprised me the most, especially considering how concentrated the fruit is.
Robert told me that he is proud of the fact that his wines are table wines and like myself he loves the dinner table and eating with friends and family. He feels that it is important to make wine that compliments food. There is something classic and pure about this approach to winemaking that we can all relate to on many different levels. I hope to continue enjoying Robert Craigs’ wines and wish him and his family great success in the upcoming new year.
Wine quote of the week;
The wines that one best remembers are not necessarily the finest that one has ever tasted, and the highest quality may fail to delight so much as some far more humble beverage drunk in more favorable surroundings.
H. Warner Allen
(From the wine list of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans)