On the slopes of Spring Mountain there’s a vineyard so remote it can only be reached
by foot, by four-wheel drive, or by helicopter. And this vineyard has a fitting name: Hidden Ridge.

The winemaking team of Marco DiGiulio and Timothy Milos produce cabernet from this steep perch but they’re particular. They didn’t harvest any fruit in 2010 because the growing season was inconsistent.

Do they harvest by helicopter? Not exactly, but because of the 55 percent slope harvest has to be done by hand. Mechanical harvest would be dangerous, if not impossible in some areas. Because of the time-intensive process, it made more sense in 2010 to leave the grapes on the vine rather than sell to a bulk buyer.

But Milos expects to bottle 2,500 cases from the 2011 vintage. “A slow start has given way to good weather and we are a long way from harvest but the small crop should ripen in a timely fashion,” he said.

The land, once a private hunting club, ranges in elevation from 900 to 1700. It’s actually  in Sonoma County, near Pride Mountain Vineyards, but just a stone’s throw from Napa Valley. Owners Casidy Ward and Lynn Hofacket purchased the property in 1991 thinking it would great retreat for a family. But they soon realized it was a bit too remote and made a better home from grapes.

The Hidden Ridge 2006 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($40, 14.9 percent alcohol) is layered with aromas and flavors of cherry, vanilla, herbs and spice. Chewy tannins. For more information about the wine and this precarious perch, visit www.hiddenridgevineyard.com.