You could say Delia Viader is an exception to the norm. She’s a female winemaker who started a world-class winery on her first attempt, all while singlehandedly raising four children. She was an early champion of Cabernet Franc, back when everyone in Napa was jumping on the Cabernet Sauvignon bandwagon. And unlike most California vineyards, her vines are planted vertically up and down the hillside to optimize sun and wind exposure.
But Delia isn’t just different for the sake of being different — her singular decisions were borne out of a tremendous desire to craft the best wine possible. Her discerning palate and unique approach to winemaking helped transform a rocky Howell Mountain hillside into exceptional wines.
Today, VIADER remains a small-production, boutique winery despite increasing wine industry consolidation and commoditization. Its vineyards are hand-farmed, with an incredibly low yield of just two tons per acre.
VIADER may never be the biggest winery, but it is certainly one of the best. We were absolutely blown away by the VIADER Proprietary Red Blend. Each sip unleashes a symphony of lush fruit, structured-yet-smooth tannins, and bright acidity. The finish is long and complex, with notes of herbs and dark chocolate. This is a highly ageworthy wine that’s also hard to resist drinking now.
The VIADER Proprietary Red Blend contains 31% Cabernet Franc, making it softer than pure Cabernet Sauvignon. “Cabernet Franc instills a mellowed complementary balance and early approachability to the wine with beautiful aromatics, silky texture and an elegant finesse,” says Delia. “Cabernet Sauvignon provides the backbone, structure, character and aging potential with succulent fruit and rich tannins.”
The VIADER Proprietary Red Blend is entirely grown on rocky, volcanic Howell Mountain slopes. However, the winery is 75 feet below the designated Howell Mountain AVA elevation. So, while all VIADER wines are technically Howell Mountain wines, they must be labelled Napa Valley.
In true Bordeaux style, the VIADER Proprietary Red Blend is designed to be consumed with food. One of Delia’s favorite pairings is lamb with seasonal roast vegetables alongside the VIADER Proprietary Red Blend. “The rich red fruit and earthy, leather and herbal spice flavors of the wine play perfectly with this dish,” says Delia. “The wine is smooth enough that it doesn’t overpower the meat, and elegant enough to allow for more than one glass.” Additionally, the fat in the lamb helps soften and give new depth to the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon tannins.
Of all the quintessential wine pairings in the world, there’s something especially satisfying about succulent roasted meat and rich, velvety red wine. We’ve included our recipe for this pairing below — it’s perfect for special occasions, and easily accommodates a crowd.
As newly-minted fans, we are relieved to know that VIADER is a multigenerational business that will be around for decades to come. In fact, VIADER winemaking has already seamlessly transitioned from Delia to her son, Alan. Her daughter, Janet, oversees Sales and Marketing.
“We are always looking for new opportunities to continually improve the quality of our wines and dually, preserve the integrity of our vines and our family business for future generations to come,” says Delia. “One day, perhaps a grandchild (or several!) will be a part of our team!”
The future is bright for VIADER, and we look forward to tasting many releases to come. Learn more or schedule a private tasting at Viader.com.
Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Lamb and VIADER Proprietary Red Blend
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Best Roast Leg of Lamb: We love the aromatic combination of rosemary and lamb in Jamie Oliver’s recipe. However, we added one key step to enhance the flavors of the meat: broiling it in the oven for about 3 minutes to create a browned, caramelized exterior.
- 1 lamb loin
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 cloves garlic
- Lemon zest
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce:
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 1 stalk rosemary
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tsp wine or rice vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
Optional: seasonal vegetables such as squash and brussels sprouts
- Remove lamb from fridge and let it come close to room temperature (about 1 hour).
- Peel and mince garlic and rosemary.
- Make the marinade: In a bowl, mix garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and olive oil.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper onto lamb. Then rub marinade all over.
- Place lamb in oven and broil for 3 minutes or until it is seared brown on the outside.
- Lower oven temp to bake at 350F. Bake for approximately 75 minutes for medium rare and 90 minutes+ for well done. Bake time will also depend on the shape and size of your cut.
- Optional: after 30 minutes, you can add seasonal vegetables on the bottom rack.
- Prepare the sauce: Peel the mint and rosemary leaves and finely chop. Mix with the sugar, oil, and vinegar.
- Let lamb rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Enjoy with a Cabernet Sauvignon blend that includes Cabernet Franc (we recommend Viader Proprietary Red Blend).