Representing the quiet owners who are confident in allowing their wines to do the talking for them are the brilliant and talented owners of the winery bearing their own name – founder Delia Viader (vee-ah-DARE), her son Alan, daughter Janet, and daughter in law Mariela. Now this is not so much a story about the but about one day each year when the Viaders open their hearts and wines to those fortunate enough to visit the Valley on the Sunday following the Napa Valley Wine Auction. ,
The weekend of the auction is full of unique wine events (for example, we dined at Opus One’s private dinner a few years ago and during sit down on the front lawn we were serenaded by the entire string section of the San Francisco orchestra). It seems that winery after winery strives to show their wares and hospitality in a light as good as, if not better than, their competitors.
But on that weekend Viader is different. The family allows scores (maybe hundreds) of people to drive up the mountain and partake of not only a few current releases, but also wines from the last 10 years or so. What an amazing treat to be able to evaluate how each vintage was handled by this A-List winery, and to experience how the wines are aging. It adds great confidence to a wine buyer when s/he knows that a winery produces quality even in challenged years, and that all the wines exhibit excellent ageability.
This piece is not designed to rate each of the Viader wines, as they are all well worth trying (and we think buying – as evidenced by many of them in our cellar). We write this to thank the family and to recommend that whenever you might visit the Valley, you plan a visit to this lovely property on Howell Mountain. Or better yet, if you are far away from Napa, find some Viader and try it. The family produces:
-Viader, a blend of Cab and Cab Franc from their best Howell Mt. estate vineyards.
-V, comprised mostly of Petit Verdot with varying degrees of Cabernet Sauvignon.
-Viader Syrah, a clonal blend of Australian Barossa Shiraz and Rhone Hermitage, both grown on the Viader estate.
-Dare Cabernet Sauvignon, designed to be consumed young, as evidenced by its $40 price tag. But the pedigree is great – the vineyards are the estate on Howell Mt. and Llewelling in St. Helena.
-Dare Cabernet Franc, made from on Howell Mt. and the superb Stagecoach vineyards in Oakville.
-Dare Tempranillo, which more than does justice to the wonderful wines of the Rioja region of Spain. This one comes from the northeast part of
Prices range from about $40 to $100 here, so there is excellent wine for all serious buyers. Delia herself is often at the tasting room or in the area, so if you see her, say hello. She is quiet as a rule, but she is happy to talk to those who are serious about wine. Few know their craft better.