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2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley

Vin Roc winery sits on, and is tunneled into, Atlas Peak at an altitude of 1,600 feet. The vineyard slopes toward the Foss Valley floor below. The surroundings are almost startlingly rocky, all volcanic. In some areas the ground is littered with black rocks. Some are the size of golf balls, many are small boulders. Others spots have deep layers of volcanic tuff, a pale ash [tuff] compacted over time so that it resembles calcareous rock. Between the large stones grow wild grasses and a variety of trees. [Grass on the valley floor is kept low by grazing cattle.]

The barrel-aging cave was bored out of solid volcanic rock.

Looking down on the Vin Roc estate vineyard and across Foss Valley.

The tuff fractures, allowing roots to penetrate deeply for groundwater.

A rock-strewn hillside at Vin Roc on Atlas Peak.

Like most mountain AVAs in the area, the vines see long, sunny days during the growing season. However, Atlas Peak is quite close to San Pablo Bay. Cool winds off coming off the water combine with the high altitude to keep temperatures as much as 10 degrees cooler than on the valley floor.

Proprietor/winemaker Michael Parmenter's hair testifies to the cool San Pablo Bay winds as we look over the valley.

The 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon is a deeply colored and aromatic wine with a distinctly savory personality. The nose in particular echoes the vineyard’s sylvan surroundings with notes of cedar, dry brush, spice and tobacco surrounding ripe, slightly dried black currant. There’s an elegance to the nose that follows through on the palate. Medium-plus body and matching tannins of fine powder are balanced by that chewy black currant on one hand and moderate acidity on the other. Spice and black cherry add interest. The finish is lengthy but leaves you wanting another sip. Drink now through 2020. Highly Recommended+

2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley

Rating: Highly Recommended+

Drink: Now through 2020
Closure: Cork
Production: 350 cases
Retail Price: $98.00

Winemaker: Michael Parmenter
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Origin: Vin Roc estate vineyard, Atlas Peak
Aging: 24 months in French oak, 12 months in bottle at the winery
Alcohol: 14.5%

Service Recommendations

Decanting: Not essential

Temperature: 58º - 64º F

Food Pairings: Lamb chops from a wood-fired grill with black olive couscous.

Interpreting my wine ratings


Photo Credit: Fred Swan

Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.

The review above reflects my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.

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This article is original to Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.