Early in the history of the Napa Valley, before the absurdity of Prohibition, grape growers raised their sights. With many hailing from Europe, they understood how wine grapes love to dig deep into hillsides and mountains.\r\n\r\nThose pioneers\u2014Jacob Schram, the Beringers, Charles Lemme and the Christian Brothers\u2014gave way by the 1950s to a new generation. Such innovators as the McCreas, Al and Boots Brounstein, Dr. Jan Krupp, Piero Antinori, the Smith brothers, Bob Travers, Sir Peter Newton and others believed there should be distinct appellations for five of the Napa Valley\u2019s highest mountains: Howell, Diamond, Spring, Mount Veeder and Atlas Peak.\r\n\r\nAfter decades\u2014sometimes centuries\u2014of toil, the Cabernets from these hard-to-work vineyards are now reaching their peak potential.\r\n\r\nWhat links the Cabernet Sauvignons from these mountains are their intensity and structure. Mountain fruit is often compact and concentrated, its berries tiny from seasons of struggle and loaded with powerful tannins that take time to unravel. There\u2019s also a distinct spectrum of earthiness in these wines, a product of their wilderness of forest and rock.\r\n\r\nMountain harvests tend to happen later, which allows winemakers to pick for flavor and at maturities that are ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon. Here\u2019s how these mountain appellations within the Napa Valley differ, and how they don\u2019t.\r\nAtlas Peak\r\nLocated in the eastern hills above the city of Napa, Atlas Peak is among the coolest of Napa Valley\u2019s mountain appellations. It\u2019s well insulated from the heat of the valley floor or regions north, as it faces mostly southwest, and thus gets just enough direct sunlight in the afternoon.\r\n\r\nHeat spikes are uncommon, which reduces the chance of sunburn, dehydration or sugar accumulation in the grapes before maturity. Temperatures drop at night, which helps the grapes maintain acidity.\r\n\r\nAtlas Peak is composed of 11,400 acres that rise from 760 to 2,663 feet above sea level, and its peak makes the appellation the highest in the Napa Valley. Its two winding roads, Soda Canyon Road and Atlas Peak Road, don\u2019t even meet. Each simply comes to a dead end at the top.\r\n\r\nThe soils are ancient and volcanic, brick red and rich in iron. They tend to be fairly shallow and easily drained. Vine growth is limited, and they yield small berries with thick skins. Structure, stony minerality and complexity are the result.\r\n\r\nWilliam Hill started to plant commercially here in the 1980s, followed soon by Marchese Piero Antinori of the Tuscan wine dynasty, who co-founded Atlas Peak Vineyards on 1,200 acres after he bought Hill\u2019s property. Inspired by his native Chianti Classico, Antinori first planted 120 acres of Sangiovese, which he believed to be a good bet for the appellation. But the Italian variety wasn\u2019t the right call, and, in time, Cabernet Sauvignon took root.\r\n\r\nDr. Jan Krupp began planting in the early 1990s near Antinori\u2019s property (now called Antica). He established the Stagecoach Vineyard in 1995, which spans 600 acres of planted vines all the way to Pritchard Hill. The property, some 1,300 acres in all, was sold to E&J Gallo in March. It currently provides grapes to 90 wineries, including Gallo\u2019s Louis Martini and Orin Swift brands.\r\n\r\n\u201cGracious minerality and earthiness are descriptors we use often for the wines from this area.\u201d\r\n\u2014Rob Mondavi\r\n\r\nMichael Mondavi would be next to bet on Atlas Peak. He bought the Animo Vineyard in 1999, a key piece in the establishment of Michael Mondavi Family Estate and\u00a0the backbone of one of its marquee wines, made now by Mondavi\u2019s son, Rob.\r\n\r\n\u201cAtlas Peak continues to yield remarkable wines, marching alongside Napa\u2019s most sought-after hillside AVAs [American Viticultural Areas],\u201d says Rob Mondavi.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe red earth and igneous rock with infrequent ribbons of light ash provide irrefutable evidence of volcanic activity, resulting in a low-pH soil providing a balance between fruit, minerality, tannin and earthy profiles,\u201d he says. \u201cMost indicative of the area is the ample bench land and breezes that take the edge off heat spikes and frost that other AVAs experience.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs with any mountain-grown fruit, Mondavi says that tending to the vines is a laborious process.\r\n\r\n\u201cFor those who cherish the depth and quality of hillside fruit, the effort is rewarded,\u201d he says. \u201cBlue-skinned fruit with black-skinned berry notes, gracious minerality and earthiness are descriptors we use often for the wines from this area.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnother high-profile project is Acumen Wines, founded in 2012 by Eric Yuan. Formerly part of Krupp Family Vineyard, it\u2019s a high-elevation, rocky site six miles off the Silverado Trail and above the fog line. It\u2019s subject to the cooling influences of San Pablo Bay to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west.\r\n\r\nThe Tempranillo and Malbec originally planted there has been changed over to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and its 32 acres, now known as Attelas, are certified organic. Half a mile farther up the road, Acumen also owns the Edcora Vineyard, which rises to 1,600 feet above sea level.\r\n\r\nDenis Malbec was the original winemaker, with Steve Matthiasson and Garrett Buckland hired to oversee the vineyards. When Malbec was killed in a car accident in 2015, Matthiasson took on cellar duties as well. His first vintage in that role was 2016.\r\n\r\nIn 2014, Guarachi Family Wines bought Meadowrock, a 60-acre site near \u00adAntinori\u2019s Antica, which extends from 1,400 to 1,760 feet above sea level. Thirty acres of it are planted to a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, in soils derived from volcanic rhyolite and andesite.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMichael Mondavi Family Estate 2012 Animo Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) $85, 94 points. This wine, from the producer\u2019s estate vineyard on Atlas Peak, relies on the addition of nearly 15% Petit Verdot, which provides additional prettiness and power. Well structured and in balance, it imparts cedar, dried herb and pencil shavings, as firm tannins and subtle oak play background roles. It\u2019s defined by cool-climate restraint and grace. Drink from 2022\u20132027. Cellar Selection.\r\n\r\nAcumen 2013 Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)$60, 93 points.\u00a0This new project involves Steve Matthiasson as both viticulturist and winemaker. It shines in bristling acidity, dusty tannins and a beautiful floral aroma of violet. Notes of chocolate, fig and cigar sit atop a pillowy, complex structure, while vanilla lingers on the finish. Editors\u2019 Choice.\r\n\r\nAntica 2013 Townsend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Atlas Peak) $110, 91 Points.This is a dark and brooding wine, full-bodied and firmly impacted in tannins. Mountain sage, currant and mocha highlight dense ripe fruit and dustiness that linger with a spiciness of clove on the finish.\r\nDiamond Mountain\r\nAbove Calistoga in the Napa Valley\u2019s most northwestern quadrant sits the Diamond Mountain AVA, a continuation of the Mayacamas Mountains. An AVA since 2001, the appellation goes from 400 to 2,200 feet above sea level. Its fine-grained, ash-like soils contain shards of reflective volcanic glass, which inspired the name.\r\n\r\nJacob Schram was first to arrive and plant wine grapes here in 1868, and he called his spot Schramsberg Vineyards. Al Brounstein, of Diamond Creek Vineyards, came a century later, in 1968. He would be among the first winegrowers to recognize Diamond Mountain as being specifically suitable for Cabernet Sauvignon.\r\n\r\nBrounstein became convinced of the appellation\u2019s ability to produce intense wines full of dense, soft tannins with aromas and flavors of dark chocolate and rich, dark fruit. When he planted Diamond Creek, it was on a parcel of raw land.\r\n\r\nThere, he uncovered three distinct and ideal soil types: a seven-acre area of iron-rich red soil he would call Red Rock Terrace; a five-acre plot of shallow gravel named Gravelly Meadow; and an eight-acre hillside of white volcanic ash deposited by Mount Konocti known as Volcanic Hill.\r\n\r\nFrom its first vintage, Diamond Creek kept the wines from those three soil types separate. It was among the first to label its wines with vineyard names.\r\n\r\nAbove the fog line, vines experience cool days and warm nights, with much less temperature variation than the valley floor below.\r\n\r\nJack and Jamie Davies came to Jacob Schram\u2019s old site in 1965, with the goal of making world-class sparkling wine. They achieved that, and launched the J. Davies brand in the early 2000s to utilize the Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that had been replanted on the family\u2019s 41-acre property beginning in 1994.\r\n\r\nJacob Schram was the first to arrive and plant wine grapes here in 1868, and he called his spot Schramsberg Vineyards.\r\n\r\nThe Davies\u2019 son Hugh, CEO and President of both Schramsberg and J. Davies, continues to guide the winery\u2019s foray into mountain-grown Cabernet.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe diverse volcanic soils, aspects and elevations of these hills give us the opportunity to develop a vibrant range of barrels with which to blend,\u201d Davies says.\r\n\r\nSteve Leveque, winemaker at Hall Winery, sources grapes from the eight-acre Rainin Vineyard on Diamond Mountain, which the winery has just agreed to lease long term, making it a Hall Estate Vineyard. Rainin has four blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon at 1,200 feet in elevation, surrounded by pine forest and redwood grove.\r\n\r\n\u201cDiamond Mountain is \u2026 very sparsely planted, which further drives up demand,\u201d Leveque says. \u201cIt is situated in the warmer northwest corner of the Napa Valley and has rugged volcanic soils, along with elevation, which all lead to wines with mountain fruit intensity, earthy cocoa and brown spice complexities.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe result? Wines with a unique texture and expression that offer mountain fruit-richness along with a velvety, plush and round tannin presentation.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHall 2012 Rainin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mountain District) $325, 95 points.\u00a0This blockbuster, powerhouse wine evolves in the glass to suggest blueberry pie and chocolate, so smooth and seductively silky it becomes on the palate. Amidst the density and richness it offers complex seasonings of cedar, \u00adpeppercorn and peppery oak, finishing with as much spice as finesse.\r\n\r\nJ. Davies 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mountain District) $100, 92 points. Gentle tannins and a streak of black pepper stand out in this well-crafted, powerful wine. It offers pillowy texture and just enough grip to remain seamless and compelling on the palate. Moderate acidity adds structure and brightness to the concentrated black fruit.\r\n\r\nVon Strasser 2013 Reserve Red (Diamond Mountain District) $135, 92 points. This big, bold blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% \u00adPetit Verdot and smaller amounts of Malbec and Merlot is powerfully built, with firm, integrated tannins that feel chalky and dusty. Black currant and cherry flavors dominate, with waves of tobacco and dark chocolate that lead to a soft, lingering finish. This will cellar well, to be enjoyed from 2023\u20132028. Cellar Selection.\r\nHowell Mountain\r\nOn the northeastern side of the Vaca Mountains, Howell Mountain became an appellation in 1983. It includes vineyard sites from 1,400 to 2,500 feet above sea level, surrounded by pine forest.\r\n\r\nAmong the first appellations to be formed following Napa Valley itself, Howell Mountain\u2019s prime growing land benefits from a microclimate featuring warm mornings and cool evenings. That temperature swing tends to extend the grapes\u2019 hang time, which allows Cabernet to ripen slowly and develop deeper flavors.\r\n\r\nIntense sunlight hits a mix of white volcanic ash and red clay soils that are lean and possess good drainage. Howell \u00adMountain\u2019s rockiness distinguishes it from hillside vineyards across the valley in the Mayacamas Mountains.\r\n\r\nThat rockiness often means there\u2019s little water-holding capacity in the soils. The resulting wines are known to be deeply intense and rugged, with a great concentration of black fruit, dark color and hints of menthol and mocha.\r\n\r\nThe tannins typical of Cabernet Sauvignon and the thicker skins produced on a mountain like this are often softened by the addition of Cabernet Franc, Merlot or both.\r\n\r\nThe Lamborns, of Lamborn Family Vineyards, were involved in the appellation\u2019s creation and first bought land there in 1969. They chose to start at 1,400 feet, as that\u2019s the elevation of the typical fog inversion layer.\r\n\r\n\u201cI tell people that Napa Valley during the growing season is fogged in on average three days a week until around 9:30 am,\u201d Mike Lamborn says. \u201cAt 2,200 feet, we receive the early rays of sunshine, so that works out to be two-and-a-half more hours of sun for every foggy day in the valley, and at three days a week, we almost get a month\u2019s more sunshine during the season than does the valley floor. This has a major influence on fruit development.\u201d\r\n\r\nBud break occurs later here than it does in the valley because it\u2019s cooler on the mountain in the spring. However, they often pass the valley mid-season and at harvest, which occurs at Lamborn\u2019s vineyard an average of two weeks ahead.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur growing season daytime temperatures average 10 degrees cooler than the valley, but our overnight temperatures\u00a0average 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the valley,\u201d he says. \u201cWe receive daily afternoon winds, which dry the vines more than does the sun, so irrigation, both timing and quantity, are crucial. We are challenged by very high-acid soils, so soil management is key.\u00a0All these small influences create the Howell Mountain character.\u201d\r\n\r\nWinemaker Heidi Barrett, who crafts the Lamborn Family wines, uses the appellation\u2019s feral quality to her advantage.\r\n\r\n\u201cHowell Mountain always has a certain wildness about it, so the wines are a bit brambly in wild blackberries, intense and delicious,\u201d she says. \u201cIt gets great ripeness, yet cool nights at that elevation [contribute to] good acidity and balance.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAnother fan of the appellation is Stags Leap District-based Pine Ridge Vineyards, which makes several Cabernets from across the Napa Valley.\r\n\r\n\u201cGustavo Avina, my vineyard manager extraordinaire, thinks that Howell Mountain is our best vineyard,\u201d says Michael Beaulac, Pine Ridge\u2019s general manager/winemaker.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe 1,900-foot elevation means that we will have a late-spring bud break, but being above the fog line during the summer, the vineyard almost catches up with the valley floor, though it\u2019s always our last vineyard to harvest each vintage.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeaulac says that the Cabernet tends to have a sweet pea aroma. It\u2019s very dark in color, with dark fruit flavors and strong, refined tannins. While it shows best around seven years, it\u2019s ageworthy for another 20-plus years.\r\n\r\nVintners big and small, from Beringer to Duckhorn, Cakebread and one-man operation Dunn Vineyards, have steadily made a name for Howell Mountain wines.\r\n\r\nLa Jota has two vineyards on the mountain, the La Jota Estate, and one mile down, W.S. Keyes Vineyard, once the Liparita Vineyard. At 1,825 feet in elevation and planted in 1986, Keyes is the sole source of grapes for sister brand Lokoya Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe Bay drags moisture over the AVA,\u201d says Chris Carpenter, a winemaker for Jackson Family Wines, who makes La Jota and\u00a0also Cardinale from this site. \u201cIt\u2019s wetter and cooler and takes longer for the grapes to ripen. There\u2019s a gravelly minerality, a lot of iron, clay and volcanic content in the soils.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLa Jota Vineyard 2013 Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain) $85, 95 points. This full-bodied, concentrated wine shows plenty of power, as it brings the variety together with smaller percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. With a huge presence on the palate that lingers and stays in one\u2019s brain, it shows toasted oak along with black pepper, bark and leather saddle. It\u2019s a wine to enjoy from a giant leather chaise, if possible. Cellar until 2023. Cellar Selection.\r\n\r\nPine Ridge 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain) $125, 93 points. This is a juicy, complete and full-bodied showcase for the variety from this mountainous appellation, known for its ability to impart sizable structure and concentration. It delivers that here, integrating firm tannins into a complex, lengthy portrait of ripe, brambly blackberry, black currant and a powerful dose of cigar box.\r\n\r\nLamborn Family Vineyards 2013 Vintage XI Proprietor Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain) $100, 92 points.\u00a0 Heidi Barrett is the winemaker for this 100% varietal wine, which exudes lovely, fully ripe notions of cherry and cassis from the highly perfumed glass. Sizable tannin structure girds the fruit with additional components of graphite and tar, and it finishes in a field of dried herb.\r\nMount Veeder\r\nThere\u2019s a changing of the guard afoot in this appellation. In 2013, Robert Travers sold Mayacamas Vineyards to partners Charles Banks, founder of Terroir Selections, and Jay Schottenstein, chairman of American Eagle outfitters and DSW. More recently, the Villa Sorriso wine estate\u2014a 640-acre property owned by the late comedian Robin Williams, which features an 18 acre vineyard\u2014was purchased by Alfred & Melanie Tesseron of Pontet Canet in Pauillac, Bordeaux.\r\n\r\nThe Mount Veeder AVA was formalized in 1993 in the southern reaches of the Mayacamas Mountains, west of the towns of Napa, Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. It sits between 500 and 2,600 feet above sea level and encompasses 25 square miles, which makes it one of the largest AVAs in the Napa Valley.\r\n\r\nYet, you\u2019d hardly know it had grapes if you drive along its winding roads. Very little of the land is commercially planted amid pine, oak and fir forests and ferns. Small vineyard properties include Lagier-Meredith, Pott Wines, Pulido-Walker and Mithra.\r\nOn the top of the mountain, the soil is rocky, with boulders the size of small cars. Drainage is a challenge, thanks to underground springs and rain runoff, which makes rootstock selection key. Lower down, it\u2019s more of a clay loam soil, so the roots of the vines make it down with greater ease.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe AVA is all about structure and tannins, which form a great synergy with Cabernet.\u201d\r\n\u2013Rob Mann\r\n\r\nOn the southern edge of the mountain range, Mount Veeder gets a maritime influence off the San Pablo Bay. It stays cooler than the northern side of the appellation, which gets more valley warmth.\r\n\r\n\u201cMount Veeder offers a variety of microclimates because of our proximity to the bay,\u201d says Dave Guffy, winemaker for the Hess Collection. \u201cVineyards that get a peek of the ocean have longer hang time, while others \u2026 create flavors of ripe mountain blackberry and a more full-bodied expression. The result is a layered Cabernet that has elegance and great cellar potential.\u201d\r\n\r\nAn old volcano, Mount Veeder is full of tufa, a white ash deposited in a lot of areas that can be devigorating. The resulting\u00a0grapes are intensely concentrated, the fruit blue and pretty, with powerful tannins that tend to gracefully age.\r\n\r\n\u201cGeographically, it is the most southwest part of Napa, so closer to the Bay, but on a mountain,\u201d says winemaker Jean Hoefliger of Alpha Omega, which owns the Godspeed Vineyard on Mount Veeder. \u201cSo you get the balance and elegance of a colder climate with the depth of mountain fruit.\u201d\r\n\r\nMt. Brave Wines was established after Jackson Family Wine Estates bought the former Chateau Potelle vineyard in 2007. Soils are sparse, and nutrients and minerals hard to come by, so the berries are tiny and concentrated in flavor. Blue and black fruit is accented in floral aromatics and earthy minerality. The producer knew the mountain well, as its Lokoya Mount Veeder\r\nCabernet Sauvignon has been made from here since 1995.\r\n\r\nThe second highest mountain in the valley, Mount Veeder is also a popular source of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon for blending. It\u2019s transformed into Napa Valley Cabernet, plumped up by valley floor fruit.\r\n\r\nThe mountain is warmer in winter than the valley floor, and it doesn\u2019t tend to get frost. Harvest time can be two to three weeks later than on the valley floor, which means a long growing season. Overall, its seasonal heat summation is slightly lower than those of the other mountains.\r\n\r\nRob Mann, estate director of Newton Vineyard, sources Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Veeder while he also maintains another estate vineyard and the Newton winery on Spring Mountain.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe AVA is all about structure and tannins, which form a great synergy with Cabernet,\u201d he says. \u201cIn simple terms, our Mount Veeder vineyard has the longest growing season of all the Napa appellations we source fruit from, being the first to break bud and the last to harvest, which is critical for\u00a0developing and ripening tannins.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe area has among the highest rainfall numbers every year, offset by free-draining soils of sedimentary origin.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe wines are typically deeply colored, have a classical, graphite-like structure that forms a distinct spine about which the vibrant cassis fruit is allowed to express itself,\u201d Mann says.\r\n\r\nMithra 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a beautifully crafted wine from this mysterious appellation, steeped in burly, succulent black cherry and licorice. Soft, firm tannins wrap around a full-bodied lushness of undeniable structure accented in stony gravel and sanguine undercurrents.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMithra 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mount Veeder)$190, 95 points.This is a beautifully crafted wine from this mysterious appellation, steeped in burly, succulent black cherry and licorice. Soft, firm tannins wrap around a full-bodied lushness of undeniable structure accented in stony gravel and sanguine undercurrents.\r\n\r\nMt. Brave 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mount Veeder) $75, 95 points.\u00a0The mountain appellation speaks loudly in this wine, which contributes juicy blackberry, tar and leather, all within a forested context of wild truffle and crunchy leaves. Concentrated and robust in body and ripeness, it unwinds slowly in the glass, imparting jolts of black pepper as it goes.\r\n\r\nHess Collection 2013 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (Mount Veeder) $65, 92 points.\u00a0A hearty 18% Malbec is part of this wine from the producer\u2019s appellation estate. Clove, cedar and graphite kick things off on the nose, before youthful tannins give breadth and depth to the ripe blackberry, cherry and blueberry. The wine is soft and seductive on the finish.\r\n\r\nSpring Mountain District\r\nHidden in plain sight above the town of St. Helena on the eastern side of the Mayacamas, the Spring Mountain District became an official appellation in 1993. The thick presence of forest and the springs throughout the mountain give the area its name and personality, a world away from the valley below.\r\n\r\nThe appellation lies mostly along the winding Spring Mountain Road, definitely off the beaten track. At its top, it connects with the border of Sonoma County, near the home of Pride Vineyards, which straddles both Napa and Sonoma.\r\n\r\nThe region\u2019s Cabernet Sauvignon roots run deep. It\u2019s said that La Perla Vineyard was the first planted here, by Charles Lemme in 1874. The land has been continuously farmed, and even withstood Prohibition because it was hidden so far up in the woods. It\u2019s now part of Spring Mountain Vineyard, and the original stone La Perla Winery still stands.\r\n\r\nThe Beringer brothers planted nearby in the 1880s. But phylloxera and Prohibition put a stop to Spring Mountain\u2019s rise until the 1940s and \u201950s, when the McCrea family founded Stony Hill Winery. They planted on steep hillside vineyards terraced between thickets of trees, a common theme.\r\n\r\nSpanning 500 to 2,600 feet in elevation, the appellation is 5,000 acres. Less than 10 percent of that acreage is planted to grapevines; most is steep and forested. Sedimentary and volcanic loam soils are the norm, typified by high drainage and low fertility.\r\n\r\nNewton, Cain, Keenan, Barnett, Smith-Madrone, Terra Valentine, Spring Mountain Vineyard and York Creek Cellars are among the longstanding adventurers here. Lokoya now bases itself here in a grand tasting estate that surrounds its Yverdon Vineyard at 2,100 feet above sea level.\r\n\r\nNewton Vineyard is accessible from a different road behind St. Helena. It has a square mile of hillside property that dates back to 1977 and is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon.\r\n\r\n\u201cComplex and textural would be my summary,\u201d says Newton Vineyards\u2019 Mann of\u00a0the Cabernet here. \u201cSpring Mountain has an incredibly diverse combination of soil types, aspect, slope, altitude, varietal mix, planting density and vine age. Within one vineyard, depending on the site, you may have four weeks difference in ripening from one plot to the next, planted to the same variety.\u201d\r\n\r\nWest-facing slopes can be barren and dry, supporting low scrub and live oak, and winemakers must be careful not to let fruit cook in these areas. An adjacent east-facing slope 100 feet away can be cooler and more humid, supporting oak and redwood trees. Slopes are often too steep and cool to ripen red grape varieties.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe wines are rather intellectual and red-fruit based, with an alluring textural and savory structure, and can be incredibly complex,\u201d Mann says.\r\n\r\nIn addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux reds, the land is planted to such varieties as Riesling, Gew\u00fcrztraminer, S\u00e9millon, Petite Sirah and even traditional Port grapes like Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao and Tinta Roriz.\r\n\r\nSmith-Madrone\u2019s Stu Smith and his brother, Charlie, settled on Spring Mountain in 1970, intrigued by mountain grapes. They were preceded by Stony Hill, which set up shop in 1943 off Highway 29. Around 1952, it added a commercial winery to the property, planting Chardonnay, Riesling, Gew\u00fcrztraminer and S\u00e9millon, varieties the family still tends.\r\n\r\nFritz Maytag, of the appliance and blue cheese family, resuscitated Anchor Steam Brewing in San Francisco before he bought 320 acres on Spring Mountain in 1968. On the site, he created York Creek Vineyards, the winery with the Port varieties, blending them with Petite Sirah and Zinfandel and bottling them in fortified form. The winery\u2019s labels feature the 24 native trees on the property, from madrone to buckeye.\r\n\r\nCain Vineyard & Winery is\u00a0nearby, where longtime winemaker Christopher Howell makes Cain Five, Cain Concept and Cain Cuv\u00e9e, all Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends. Terraces face north, south, east and west, with a focus on the five classic red Bordeaux varieties.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSpring Mountain Vineyard 2012 Elivette Red (Napa Valley)$150, 94 points.Beginning with a velvety texture and inviting bouquet of strawberry and rose, this classic blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot is grown on the winery\u2019s 845-acre estate. Kirsch, black pepper and chocolate combine atop a smooth, integrated palate that\u2019s elegant from start to finish, the oak tempered to good effect. Drink now through 2027. Cellar Selection.\r\n\r\nSmith-Madrone 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, $50, 93 points.\u00a0From dry-farmed estate vines, this savory, classically styled red is dusty in cedar, dried herb and peppercorn, incredibly inviting and nuanced. It speaks quietly of the forest which surrounds its estate, a complex, balanced landscape of subtle, elegant flavor and intriguing length. Editors\u2019 Choice.\r\n\r\nTerra Valentine 2013 Wurtele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon; $80, 91 points. \u00a0A 100% varietal wine, this is a tense study in black cherry, blueberry and dry chalky tannins, which need further time to resolve. Still puckering on the finish, it offers streaks of cedar, pencil lead and coconut that are still integrating. Drink now through 2023. Cellar Selection.