Just the other day I mentioned that I was going to rely on winery recommendations over Google searches. Viader was the result of a recommendation from a friend. I’ve never heard of Viader (pronounced like “via dare”). But, after speaking with them when making my reservations, I’ve been looking forward to this tasting! They truly wanted to chat with me and get a better idea of my tastes and cater my tasting to me. I love when they do that!
The winery is located up on Howell Mountain behind a locked gate (of course). Their tasting room was a cozy building overlooking the Napa Valley below.
I was pretty excited to see where I’d be tasting wine for the afternoon. I was going to get to take in those amazing views.
It was actually a really gorgeous day when I visited. Sunny and almost 70 degrees. I kinda wanted to be on their terrace instead of inside their tasting room. But walls of windows allowed me to have a thoroughly enjoyable view.
The first three pours were their 2016 Homenaje, 2016 Viader “Black Label”, and 2015 Viader. Viader is known for their blends. The Homenaje is a blend of 50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% malbec. As I’m not typically a fan of malbec, there was just a bit too much malbec in this guy for me to enjoy. Though the wines were paired with a few cheeses and a spiced nut blend made by the winemaker’s wife. The wines were definitely enhanced through the pairings. The Homenaje was intended to be paired with a Malvarosa cheese.
I enjoyed the 2016 Viader “Black Label” which was a blend of 57% cabernet sauvignon, 26% syrah, 14% malbec, and 3% cabernet franc. That was paired witn a Senior Del Cameros cheese.
The 2015 Viader is their signature blend comprising of 69% cabernet sauvignon and 31% cabernet franc paired with a Dry Jack.
I was initially really interested in their wines since they use a lot of Cab Franc and even have a 100% Cabernet Franc wine. But, I was also initially disappointed that it wasn’t part of the tasting. However, at like so many other wineries, we weren’t done yet! I also had the opportunity to try their 2008 Viader side-by-side with the 2015. Today I preferred the younger version.
I was so super excited about the next pour – their 2016 “Dare”. I just love the name. As I understand it, Delia was challenged (or dared) to make something that isn’t a blend! She produced this 100% Cabernet Franc wine. I was instantly in love. I’m a sucker for a Cab Franc. So many wineries hold that back for blending. But I love it on its own! However, since she was dared to make this wine and a play on her last name, this wine was appropriately named “Dare”. Sadly, there is no 2017 Dare as all of the Cabernet Franc went into their other blends.
The final pour of the afternoon was the 2016 Viader “V”. This wine was really unique as it is more than 50% Petit Verdot. When have you had more than 20% of Petit Verdot in a blend? I don’t recall the exact percentages and it isn’t on their website that I can see. But it’ll always be more than 50% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. I enjoyed the opportunity to taste it. Though, it wasn’t my favorite of the day.
I shared most of my time in their tasting room with another couple. So, I didn’t get my tasting host’s undivided attention until they’d left. Normally that’s not the case – there are normally a couple of hosts. And, normally the visit would include a tour. However, they were down a staff member due to a child being sick. No problem! It happens. Though, after the other couple left I had the opportunity to chat more about Delia and the winery.
I want to meet Delia. Her story is impressive. She was a single mother raising four children, going to school, and trying to build a winery all at the same time up on Howell Mountain. Due to the terrain she actually needed to use dynamite and jackhammers to loosen the rocky soil and plant the vines. And we’re glad she did! Her wines are very well respected! In fact she had back-to-back placements at the top of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List. Her 1997 Viader was ranked #3 in 2000. Her 1998 Viader climbed to #2 in 2001! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Her wines are consistently highly rated and recognized. Delia’s son has taken the reins as their winemaker as of 2006.
At the end of my visit, I was surprised and delighted to be given an autographed copy of her book – Daring to Stand Alone – An Entrepreneur’s Journey. My tasting host had shared a copy for us to flip through during our tasting. And I wanted the opportunity to read more. I overheard that she’d gifted the other couple a copy, but they’d purchased far more wine than I did. I wasn’t expecting to receive one. I can’t wait to dive in and read more about this amazing woman and her wines.
I almost forgot, my favorite delight of my visit was the view as the sun was setting. If you schedule a visit to their winery, be sure to do it in the afternoon! I stepped out onto that terrace and was completely in awe.