We have produced Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain for nearly twenty years. The vineyard faces south and west in a close series of slopes surrounded by forest. Our Howell Mountain vineyard soils consist of decomposed volcanic ash, gravel and basalt and sit between 1590 and 1700 feet in elevation facing west and south. We farm a number of clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, including 7, See, 191, and 337.
Carefully selected hand-harvested fruit was mechanically destemmed and optically sorted within hours of harvest. The destemmed fruit was delivered to tank about half broken and allowed to soak, with daily mixing, until fermentation began. Pumpovers were done by hand, extracting flavor and color from the skins. After fermentation the new wine was let sit on the skins for several weeks until the extraction was complete, and the new wine was pressed off to barrel. The wine was racked 3 times during aging, the fourth time before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
2019 Vintage Notes
The vintage was a gloriously normal, moderate Napa Valley growing year. The ongoing drought was relieved by near average rainfall, which kept soils wet into the Spring and the start of the growing season. Consistent mild weather during set provided us a balanced crop. The weather turn from mild and cool in the Spring to mild and warm in the Summer and Fall, giving us exceptional concentration and ripeness. Risk of smoke occurred only after harvest, and as in years past we modified our winemaking in the cellar, relying on bottled air to complete fermentations and protect the fermenting wine from contamination. Overall, the vintage was excellent, with of those a decade earlier, ripe fruit with well ripened seeds and skins providing abundant color, flavor, texture and balance.
Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
A rich, dark expression of Howell Mountain, the wine opens with aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, and plumcake. On the palate it unfolds with flavors of cocoa and black currant, accompanied by brambly blackberry fruit and sweet spices, while soft tannins carry the black fruit and sweet spice through the long round finish. While it will improve in the cellar for a decade or more, it is supple and generous enough to be enjoyed now.