was located on Pritchard Hill in the Vaca Mountains, the mountain range that forms the Eastern boundary above Napa Valley. Note: this winery and vineyard land has been purchased by Continuum, a Mondavi Family partnership. However the Cloud View brand was not sold and plans call for additional vintages, possibly sourcing fruit from their former vineyards. We will update this review accordingly in due time.
These vineyards grow in a part of Napa that has not officially been recognized as a sub appellation of Napa. However this area has long produced excellent wine. In fact, vines have been planted in the vicinity of Pritchard Hill since the late 1880′s by Italian American Vintners. Just a few of the current vintners who call this home are Bryant, Chappellet, Colgin, and Ovid. Terroir here is obviously in high demand! There are a few select locations above Napa Valley that provide some of the best overlooks and views. Long Road and some of the private ridge roads on Pritchard Hill certainly qualify in this category. Cloud View Vineyards is owned by Leighton & Linda Taylor. This is all hillside land – they planted 23 acres of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon over a span of a few years in the early to mid 1990′s. All their vineyards are planted between an elevation of 1000 and 1500 feet.
Leighton is an anomaly in the Napa Valley when compared to the many corporate ties “newer” Napa winery owners have. He is a former marine Biologist and has written extensively about marine life including several well-regarded books and one film about whales. The winery sits in a beautiful hilltop location with great views to the west and north – hence the name Cloud View! Weather permitting, be sure to walk out in the actual vineyards as Leighton and Linda have a wealth of information about the viticulture side of the winery. Notice the fairly rocky red soils – this area is ideal for Cabernet. Cloud View focuses their winemaking efforts on merely one wine each year; it is their Napa Valley Estate Red Wine. Only the best grapes from the property and free run juice (the highest quality juice) are used in this wine.
We sampled their 2003 vintage – which is a blend of almost 2/3 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/3 Merlot. The blends do vary from year to year. The nose on this wine is decidedly floral – almost like dried rose petals – you will also certainly find a combination of other layered fruit flavors including black cherry and plum. The wine finishes with soft tannins which become even softer after just 5 minutes in the glass which allows the wine to further open up. Yes the olive trees near the vineyard are not just for decoration! Cloud View makes premium olive oil from these olives and it is packaged in a wine bottle. Visit: www.cloudviewvineyards.com
NOTE: This review has been archived.
REASON: Stopped producing wine commercially, sold their property to what is now part of Continuum Winery