2017 Checkerboard Kings Row remains an expression of the Aurora Vineyard which is located in a small valley midway up Diamond Mountain on a large knoll at an elevation of 1,200 feet. The knoll projects off the mountainside, giving the vineyard full Southern exposure and open light from the East and West and protection from Napa Valley’s summer fog. Six acres are planted in the knoll’s rich, volcanic soils that are riddled with basalt cobble and loamy clay. The remaining six acres are planted in a deep gravely mix of white volcanic ash and chips of decomposed Rhyolite that were washed down from the steep, rocky crags of Diamond Mountain above. The 2017 blend of Checkerboard Kings Row is deliciously aromatic. The nose is fresh, with hints of sweet and juicy fruits that are augmented by dark roast coffee. On the palate, the fruits swirl together with baking spices, green olive, and graphite in a wine soft on tannins but long on finish.