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NM: Bringing it full circle, what have you taken away with you in your experience of making wines for Atlas Peak?
DP: I think that, from an Atlas Peak perspective, these wines have basically been made by four people up on a mountain. I sat down with our folks many years ago when I realized how fortunate I was to be making wine up there. I always wanted to remind our people how lucky we were that it was just the four of us [in the winemaking team] and not a lot of other people intervening, allowing us to just focus in on what we do best. That's how we started all this; it's why we got away from Sangiovese and why we do only Cabernet today — because we want to focus on doing one thing. As far as the relaunch of the brand, once consumers taste the wines and hear a little bit about the story, they understand that Atlas Peak is now a different winery. We could have changed the name of the winery, but the reality is then that everyone would think that our name is the only thing we changed. I think that by keeping the original name, we really took things head-on.
Taking things head-on, in fact, seems to have been the overall theme to the reshaping of Atlas Peak's identity. Future plans for the brand, beginning with the 2007 vintage release, include a venture to bottle small amounts of varietal Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec: "a huge reach for us because our focus has been only on Cabernet." Exciting things await as the brand continues to showcase the best of Napa's elevations, making it in more ways than one, a 'peak performer.' To learn more about Atlas Peak Winery and its portfolio of wines, visit Atlas Peak online. Photo Credits: Atlas Peak Winery.
Tasting Notes on the Atlas Peak Cabernets
- 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet (Mountain Blend): Aromas of purple flower and dry, Mediterranean herbs that follow through on the palate with generous black berry fruit, black currant, vanilla and a hint of green olive, all balanced with good acidity; grippy but very ripe tannins and a long finish. Source: Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain, Howell Mountain. Winemaker Comments
- 2005 Howell Mountain Cabernet: Aromas of ripe, black fruit that follow through on the palate with a juicy blueberry midpalate; very firm, mouth-coating tannins and a long, spicy finish. Winemaker Comments
- 2005 Mount Veeder Cabernet: Lush, deep, dark berry aromas that come through on the palate along with flavors of black currant, warm spices, and pronounced ripe black olive flavors; sandy tannins, bright acidity, and a lingering fruit-laden finish. Winemaker Comments
- 2005 Spring Mountain Cabernet: Aromas of ripe black cherry and dried herbs coming through on the palate along with pronounced dill, and vanilla on the finish; very fine, satiny tannins. Winemaker Comments
- 2005 Atlas Peak Claret (Cabernet-dominant Blend): A generous purple floral nose and pronounced savory and juicy blackberry flavors; firm, grippy tannins and a long, luxurious finish.