Diamond Creek is a true California legend: rare (only 1,500 total cases of three 'regular' bottlings, with tiny additional quantities from the miniscule Lake vineyard in favorable vintages), expensive, and talked or written about much more often than actually tasted. Furthermore, even the most rabid devotees of Napa cab have never seen the place - and they never will, no matter how many times they traverse Highway 29 or the Silverado Trail. In fact "Napa Valley" almost seems a silly appellation for vineyards located so high above the valley floor and so completely surrounded by rugged coniferous forest.
The isolated Diamond Mountain property was purchased by visionary rule-breaker Al Brounstein in1968. The first vintage was 1972, and the wines were an instant sensation, immediately recognized for their 'Old World' structure and finesse. Diamond Creek was celebrated as 'Napa's first all-cabernet vineyard'. Collectively the three vineyards are one of the greatest terroir case studies on the planet. Each wine is vinified similarly, but distinctions in micro-climate and terroir are always clearly evident. Red Rock Terrace is 7 north-facing acres on richly ferrous soil, the coolest micro-climate, accessible and early drinking. Gravelly Meadow is 5 acres of ancient riverbed, gravelly and claret-like. Volcanic Hill is 8 acres of warm, steep, south-facing hillside covered in volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. Konocti 8 million years ago; the wines are the tightest and longest-lived.
Perhaps the greatest attribute of these profoundly special wines is their understatedness, something they have in common with Bordeaux wines such as Haut Brion, Ausone, and Lafite. It is a truism that the very finest wines of California are the wines that are furthest from the big-fruited California stereotype, which these most certainly are. These are precious wines that have tremendous aging potential.