Rudy von Strasser is a Napa legend; he’s worked there for over 30 years, and played a huge part in founding the Diamond Mountain District, a part of the Mayacamas Range dividing Napa Valley from Sonoma Valley, and famous for its Cabernet. He was also instrumental in having the region designated as an AVA (American Viticultural Area).
Von Strasser first entered the wine business in 1989, but he didn’t start out there. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1980 with a thesis on hard-cider production, quite arcane for the time. His vision was to modernize the cider industry. While traveling the country with the intention of gleaning tips-and-tricks from the wine industry to apply to hard-cider production, he took a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1980; while there, he ended up falling in love with wine instead. He enrolled in UC Davis, famous for spawning thousands of winemakers, and graduated in 1985. Blessed by good fortune, a family friend introduced him to Baron Eric de Rothschild at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and von Strasser became the first American intern at the venerable chateau. After his year was up, von Strasser returned to Napa Valley and worked for both Trefethen in the cellar and then Newton Vineyard as the assistant winemaker under John Kongsgaard. In 1989, immediately after his marriage to Rita, the couple began looking for a vineyard property on which to make their home.
In short order, they located a small block of property on Diamond Mountain that was originally planted in 1970 and was known as Roddis Cellars, but was being used by its then owner the British Gilby Gin family as a corporate retreat. In 1990, the von Strassers bought the estate and began renovating and modernizing the property, including an historic barn. Getting off to a running start, the first vintage was produced that same year from the existing six acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Located in a large bowl in the mountain, which is also home to Diamond Creek and Reverie wineries, the von Strasser estate vineyard today is planted with 12 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon plus about three acres of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Grüner Veltliner at 500 to 1,000 feet in elevation. Continue reading “Von Strasser Diamond Terrace Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015”