Diamond Creek 2018s: New Release, Another Legend In The Making
“Diamond Creek is one of Napa Valley's most historic estates….” Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The best wines have fantastic intensity and depth without being concentrated/weighty, offering bright, crunchy fruit profiles.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
“Nothing short of exceptional in quality” Phil Steinschriber, winemaker, on the 2018s
Diamond Creek produces amongst the greatest and most age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley. The four single vineyards, each unique in their terroir, are legendary: Red Rock Terrace, Gravelly Meadow, Volcanic Hill and – the most coveted of all – Lake, which is only produced in exceptional years.
Armit Wines is proud to receive a direct allocation of these extraordinary wines and it is with great pleasure that we offer the fantastic 2018 vintage. The year is notable for not only being fire-free in terms of the terrible devastation wrought on the Californian wine community (with 2017, 2019 and now sadly 2020 all affected), it also marks the ending of an era at this historic property. Diamond Creek Vineyards has been sold, which brings the Brounstein legacy to a close and signifies a new direction for the estate. Notably, this is also the last completely solo “from grape-to-glass” vintage by legendary winemaker Phil Steinschriber. After 29 years and having firmly established Diamond Creek as one of the greatest wines of America, Phil is stepping back and passing on the baton. His tenure ends on a high with him describing the 2018s as “nothing short of exceptional in quality.”
We are delighted to bring you an exclusive interview with Phil Steinschriber, hosted by our colleagues Nicolas Clerc MS and Donna Anderson:
As Phil explains, at Diamond Creek “we don’t follow the same drummer, we move a little different from everyone”. This special character is reflected in the wines, for the style is very much European in sensibility whilst Californian in fruit. Similar to the likes of Ridge Montebello, the wines of Diamond Creek bestride the best of the New and Old Worlds of winemaking. It goes without saying: they easily give Bordeaux’s First Growths a run for their money.
For Phil, the 2018s combine the weight of the 2012 vintage whilst also expressing darker fruit, similar to the 2014s. As he concludes, the 2018s “are going to develop in to something quite spectacular”.
It is with great pleasure that we are able to offer Diamond Creek’s 2018s, including an allocation of the coveted Lake. Finding full cases of back vintages is almost impossible, certainly for great vintages comparable to 2018, and the secondary market price will mean that you’ll be paying for the privilege of drinking mature Diamond Creek. The new owners of Diamond Creek will undoubtedly be keen to maintain the unique DNA of California’s first exclusively Cabernet Sauvignon estate, however, with a changing of the guard there will inevitably come evolution; today’s release is the last Diamond Creek of its kind and the final opportunity to secure a piece of Napa Valley history.
Red Rock Terrace
Red Rock Terrace, with its red soil and high iron content, is the most expressive, forward-drinking Cabernet of the estate.
"Red Rock Terrace displays a beautiful core of blackcurrant, crème de cassis and juicy red plums. Hiding behind the gorgeous sweet fruit, fragrant notes of cordial, cocoa and liquorice emerge with time in the glass. Laser-beam precision is supported by the finest, grippiest tannins imaginable. Those tannins carry the beautifully concentrated fruit to a long, long finish. Effortless and perfectly balanced." Armit Wines
Gravelly Meadow was originally a prehistoric riverbed. Its low-yielding vines produce brooding, savoury wines with remarkable depth of flavour.
"Brooding yet sensuous, Gravelly Meadow reveals earthy, savoury, meaty notes on the nose, along with blackcurrants, blueberries and mulberries. There are subtle hints of herbs, tobacco and cedarwood. Once again, the tannic structure is impeccable and perfectly integrated. This says more about the superb quality of the fruit than it does about the 100% new oak. Gravelly Meadow is Diamond Creek’s lowest yielding vineyard. Very fine." Armit Wines
Volcanic Hill is the warmest of the estate’s microclimates, with deposits from the eruption of Mount Konocti, 8 million years ago. With its intense dark fruit and awesome tannins, it is the most structured of the Diamond Creek wines.
"Volcanic Hill shows intense notes of cassis, blackcurrant, blueberries and black cherries, followed by violets, cocoa and cordial. This is full bodied and opulent, yet the tannic structure is beautifully integrated and nothing is overblown – the balance is impeccable. It also manages to be seriously refreshing. Cedar, sweet spice, tobacco, graphite and the faintest hint of truffle all emerge with patience. One for the cellar, superb." Armit Wines
The Lake - limited availability, please enquire for allocation
Last but not least, Lake is a mere ¾ acre in size, and is the coolest of the Diamond Creek microclimates, thanks to the Pacific breezes that whistle down the Russian River corridor. Only in the finest years do the grapes ripen fully, but when they do (such as in 2018) they produce a truly extraordinary wine.