Diamond Creek: Icon Wine of the Week

Californian wine is at our heart. We make it, we import it, we sell it and we drink it. Here, Assistant Head Sommelier Michael Meyers, who grew up in the Californian wine heartland, tells us more about the vineyard where he learned how to make wine.Californian

I would like to introduce a winery that is very special in my heart having grown up working and learning how to make Cabernet Sauvignon there.

Having acquired the 79 acres in 1967, owners Al & Boots Brounstein started planting Diamond Creek in 1968 with his purchase of 79 acres in Diamond Creek Canyon.

Identifying three vineyard blocks by the differences in soil structure and exposition, and naming them for their geological forms (Red Rock Terrace-seven acres with reddish-brown soil facing north, Gravelly Meadow-five relatively flat acres with a gravelly, sandy soil, and Volcanic Hill-eight acres of white volcanic ash on the hillside facing south).

Before he was even able to purchase the land, he smuggled vine cuttings in from two Premier Cru properties in Bordeaux, personally flying them up from Tijuana, Mexico to a nursery in St. Helena.

Al’s concept to create multiple single vineyard wines from Diamond Creek was unique in its day. Diamond Creek was also the first winery to produce wine from only 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Sadly, Al Brounstein died in 2006.

This wine is aged in 50 percent new, French oak barrels for up to 22 months depending on the character of the vintage and the skill of winemaker Phil Steinschriber.

The wine shows very dark ruby color; with notes of cassis, tart black cherry, baked berry on the nose, along with a striking minerality, and on the palate a rich deep cassis fruit, well concealed and integrated new oak, cedar, cassis, and a tart, baked-cherry palate, with a long structured medium-plus finish.