Frédéric Rouzaud, president and CEO of Maison Louis Roederer, has expanded his firm’s presence in California with the purchase of Diamond Creek Vineyards. The legendary vineyards are now part of Maison Louis Roederer’s collection of North Coast properties, including Anderson Valley’s Roederer Estate, founded by Rouzaud’s father, Jean-Claude, in 1982, and Merry Edwards Winery, the Sonoma County pinot noir specialist, acquired in 2019.
Diamond Creek was one of the earliest serious explorations of Napa Valley terroir. Al Brounstein planted the vineyard in 1968, focused exclusively on cabernet sauvignon–based wines, using vine cuttings he smuggled into the country from two first-growth châteaus in Bordeaux.
The property covers 79 acres in the northern sector of Diamond Mountain, with 25 planted to vines. Brounstein initially bottled three, and later four, single-parcel wines from them: Volcanic Hill, a south-facing slope of white volcanic ash; Red Rock Terrace, a hillside of rocky, iron-rich soil facing north toward Volcanic Hill; Gravelly Meadow, a flat alluvial wash off of Diamond Creek, and Lake, up the creek from the other three, alongside the lake Brounstein created in the 1970s.
The cabernets, each with a distinct personality, have been made by Phil Steinschriber since the early 1990s; he had joined Brounstein to establish a massale selection, a nursery to propagate the vines, and then to renew some of the first generation of vineyards. Al Brounstein passed away in 2006 and his wife, Boots, continued to run the estate with her son, Phil Ross, until her death in 2019. Today, having collected 16 W&S Top 100 Winery awards, Diamond Creek remains one of the most consistent and collectible cabernet producers in Napa Valley.
Ross, Steinschriber and other members of the Diamond Creek team will remain with the estate, while Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, the technical director for Maison Louis Roederer, begins to plan for the future of the vineyard.
> photography by Alexander Rubin
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