The Atlas Peak viticultural area, established in 1992, is one of Napa Valley’s five mountain appellations. Altitude benefits all of these grapegrowing districts in terms of slightly lower temperatures; with Atlas Peak’s location, the milder conditions are enhanced by its proximity to the cooler, southeastern side of the Valley.
Circle R Ranch’s location within Atlas Peak is an interesting study of contrasts. Though the ranch sits at the bottom of Foss Valley, its elevation, as a “foothill valley” adjacent to Napa Valley, is considerably higher than Napa’s floor, so heat pressures are mitigated during the growing season. Furthermore, the combination of thin, mountain soils, which naturally occur on the ranch’s sloping terrain, with more intense sun exposure translates to deeply colored red wines of excellent tannin structure. Overall, though not as famous a sub-region as Oakville, Stag’s Leap, or a handful of others, Atlas Peak is one of Napa Valley’s hidden sweet spots for Cabernet Sauvignon.