“Bacchus amat colles,”goes the Latin saying; “Bacchus loves the hills.” The Roman god of wine knew that mountain slopes are a friend to the vine: High-elevation grapes obtain more color, tannins and flavor from their intense exposure to the elements. Here, three U.S. vineyards elevating their game.
More than 20 years ago, Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi—originally from Iran—took on Napa’s southern slopes, where the 2,200-foot Mount Veeder creates cooler microclimates. Their 2016 Sage Vineyard Series, a single-vineyard Bordeaux blend, is a powerful expression of high places.
The Storm Cellar
At 5,880 feet on Colorado’s Western Slope, The Storm Cellar vineyard is the highest in the Northern Hemisphere. The rocky soil and arid climate produce thick-skinned grapes with flavors as intense as the high-desert sunlight. Their 2018 Rieslings skyrocketed them to national acclaim.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Home to the oldest winemaking region in the country, New Mexico now boasts Gruet winery, which specializes in méthode champenoise sparkling wines. Their Tamaya Vineyard is managed with the Native American Pueblo of Santa Ana, a nod to the first keepers of the land.