Atlas Peak Winery was founded in 1987 with the intent to focus on Italian varietals including Sangiovese. However over time their relatively high altitude vineyard location, specific soils & climate proved to be very conducive for growing premium Cabernet Sauvignon and now this varietal is their main focus. The actual winery was located on Atlas Peak – (surprise, surprise) but they actually make their wine now at a large winery in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). Their vineyard land comprises about 500 acres making them one of the larger growers on Atlas Peak. They make ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon with Napa grown fruit entirely from mountain vineyards located at elevations of 1000 feet or higher.
The fruit for their Atlas Peak wines come from their own vineyard and fruit for their other mountain grown wines comes from premium vineyards on Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain and Mt. Veeder. The wines from these other mountain regions are their “Mountain Series”. It is easy to distinguish the two labels, just look for the black label versus the one white label. As someone once said ‘great wines have great views’! One other winery comes to mind with regards to producing select wines from specific mountain vineyards and that is Lokoya although their style of wines differ from Atlas Peak.
Atlas Peak’s vineyards remain constant which means they source from the same vineyards year after year. This helps build consistency into the wine and the winemaker over time knows the type of fruit he is getting. The winemaking equipment was recently upgraded and is now state of the art. These are serious Cabernet’s for the serious Cabernet Sauvignon drinker. They are very inky dark wines, big, bold, brawny and full of fruit with huge tannins. Lets see what these wines are like in 10 years! All their wines are unfiltered and unfined for maximum flavors and color.
Attention to detail in the vineyards and in the harvest is of the utmost importance with multiple hand sortings of the actual grapes and a very long extended maceration up to 45 days – all temperature controlled. Two of the biggest wines we tried during our visit with the winemaker are their 2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and the Claret. Typically all their Cabernet Sauvignons see a very small percentage of a blending varietal which is usually Petit Verdot. We sampled their 2004 Claret (from Atlas Peak); this is their one true blend usually containing 5 blends with Cabernet Sauvignon the dominant varietal. As with their other wines this one is very dark and shows great blueberry and cherry on the palate with huge broad tannins on the finish. This is a rich complex wine which will age well.
NOTE: Tastings are held at their sister winery, the Geyser Peak Winery located in Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma County) at 2306 Magnolia Drive in Healdsburg. That is also where they make their wine these days.
Sarah Paynter says
My friend and I are going to be visiting the Napa Valley area the first week of April. He is a former vineyard owner himself and would love to stop at your vineyard for a quick walk around, if at all possible. He was in Napa about twenty years ago when you were establishing the Atlas Peak vineyard and has great interest in seeing your progress. I see you do not offer tours to the public at Atlas Peak, but I wondered if a quick look might be possible? Thanks for your consideration!
Richard Rucker says
I believe you have already figured it out – this winery no longer exists under this name. The winery was founded by the Marchese Piero Antinori to make Sangiovese in a Chianti style, but he found out the property was far better suited for Carbernet. He now sells his wine under the “Antica” name (ANTInori in CA).