The 2012 Season
After a few years of extreme weather, 2012 rolled through the seasons at the balance point of our long term averages. The winter had adequate but not excessive rainfall and any real rains ended in April. The Spring was mild, with a bit of heat in May, but dropping back to near normal temperatures for June, July, August and September. The only real heat wave was in the first week of October, with three consecutive days above 95 degrees, yet even with the heat, the nights cooled and allowed the vines to recover from the stress. The mild season let the grapes reach high sugar levels before the skins and seeds were ripe, and with the heat the fruit was over 25 brix on the first of October. We let the fruit hang another 3 weeks, picking out before the rains, having waited for the flavors, tannins and textures of the fruit develop fully. Truly a great year in Napa Valley!
The year opened with a cool wet Spring after a series of drought years, which gave much needed relief and full canopies as the weather warmed in late March and April. Overall, the growing season was moderate with swings to both warm and cool from July through September. October brought several light early rains, but the weather turned warm and sunny late in the month, which brought the development and ripeness we were looking for. As in years past, we scheduled our last pick just ahead of a significant cooling trend that both threatened rain and a march backward in development. We picked twice: the knoll ripened slightly ahead of the lower vineyard, and was picked October 24th, with the balance of the vineyard brought in on the 28th. Our fruit was ripe and ready, tannins well developed, seeds brown, flavors rich and complex.
Howell at the Moon sources vineyards at the top of Howell Mountain. Our vineyard soils consist of decomposed volcanic ash, gravel and basalt. We farm a number of clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, including 7, See, 191, and 337.
2012 Howell at The Moon Cabernet Sauvignon “The Knoll Vineyard ” Howell Mountain Napa Valley
Day of Harvest 10/20/15
Brix at Harvest 26.9
Days on skins: 39
TA 5.2 g/L
residual sugar <0.02g/L
This wine is a made exclusively from the UCD 7 clone of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in mineral ash and decomposed volcanic rock. The fruit was hand selected and sorted prior to destemming, and the berries were sorted after destemming to remove any imperfect fruit. This small lot underwent native fermentation in an open-top tank, managed with hand punch downs and a long extended maceration. The new wine was racked into carefully selected new French oak barrels and aged for twenty months. Deep blue-red in hue, the wines aroma's are of blackcurrant, cherry, crushed rose, smoke, and spice. Cherry and currant flavors carry through in the flavors on the generous palate, and are joined by pencil-lead, fall leaf, and cedar. The wine finishes with fine-structured tannins,