DYER Vineyard on Diamond Mountain
Diamond Mountain is between St. Helena and Calistoga in the northernmost part of the Myacamas range that forms the western rim of the Napa Valley. Diamond Mountain District has been recognized officially as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) within Napa Valley. We feel our immediate neighborhood, the 1500 block of Diamond Mountain Road is the "filet" of the area as we enjoy close proximity to Diamond Creek, Diamond Terrace, Von Strasser, and Reverie. These wineries are not only good neighbors but are also all producers of superb and collectable Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our site looks to be an ancient rockslide from the hillside above. Ripping the soil to remove rocks in preparation for planting proved futile, so we pushed the largest ones to side, and live with the remainder. Streaks of gravel, chalky tuft, and red soil, all volcanic in origin surround the riolytic stones. Crop levels are low in this difficult site, and have never exceeded 2.5 tons per acre.
The vineyard was planted in 1993 to all five Bordeaux varieties: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% each of Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon was an obvious choice given the neighborhood, but Bill’s previous experience with Diamond Mountain fruit led him to plant the supporting varieties, selecting specific clones of each.
Early on we found that the Malbec did not perform well on this site and budded it over to more Cabernet Sauvignon. More recently we have concluded the Cabernet Franc was particularly complimentary to our blend, and after the 2002 vintage we budded the Merlot vines to give more Franc. The vineyard currently stands at 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot.
As this is a hillside vineyard we are farming with a permanent cover crop (a mix of clover and grasses) to minimize erosion. For weed control we rely on weed whackers and use no herbicides. We have no insect problems and have never used pesticide. We use organic sprays only in controlling mildew and botrytis. This is our front yard after all- we cleared the land and planted the vineyard and it is important to us that we be responsible stewards of the property.
For quite awhile, now, we’ve been meaning to review all the vintages of Dyer Vineyards Cabernet – we’re amazed to realize there are fifteen vintages now (seventeen if you count the two in barrels!) But, we just hadn’t gotten to it.
In a recent moment of serendipity...