Tasting Report: Wines of Howell Mountain 2013

This tasting of Cabernet-centric Howell Mountain wines is always a highlight of the wine event season, and this rundown of a few dozen wineries in the region was no disappointment. We’ve covered the event for several years now, and this year’s tasting of primarily 2009 and 2010 Cabs, plus a smattering of library wines, offered lots to like.

Some favorites: Perennial faves Pina and O’Shaugnessy brought their A-games, while Atlas Peak, Bravante, and Outpost all dazzled as well, too. La Jota’s mountain Merlot was also worth a good look.

A special note for Cornerstone’s 1999 Cabernet. I tried this wine last year and found it a bit over-aged, but the bottle I sampled at this event was drinking quite nicely. Just goes to show how bottle variability becomes a bigger and bigger issue as the years wind on….

Thoughts on all wines tasted follow.

Tasting Report: Wines of Howell Mountain 2013

2009 Arkenstone Vineyards Obsidian / $120 / B+ / chewy, needs time
2010 Arkenstone Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Howell Mountain / $55 / B+ / a bit tougher
2007 Atlas Peak Howell Mountain Cabernet / $60 / B+ / restrained, more fruit
2004 Atlas Peak Howell Mountain Cabernet / $75 / A / rich cocoa notes, drinking beautifully
2008 Blue Hall Vineyard Camiana Cabernet Sauvignon / $75 / B+ / bold body, dark plums
2007 Bravante Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Howell Mountain / $65 / A / very chocolaty, some blueberry, great
2008 Bravante Merlot Estate Howell Mountain / $60 / B / milder, a little earth
2007 Bravante TRIO Napa Valley / $50 / B / very mild, simple (60% merlot, 35% cab, 5% cab franc)
2006 Bremer Family Howell Mountain Merlot / $75 / B / some menthol, tight
2006 Bremer Family Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $85 / B- / very chewy, tannic
2005 Bremer Family Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Cimarossa Vineyard / $85 / B / similar, quite big
2009 CADE Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain / $80 / B / very fruity, over-ripe
2009 Cakebread Dancing Bear Ranch Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $110 / A- / enormous, chewy chocolate
2010 Charles Krug Howell Mountain Cold Springs Vineyard Single Vineyard Red Blend / $125 / B / strange notes of swimming pool and sawdust (81% CS, 18% PV, 1% Malbec)
2009 Cimarossa Ravi Di Cimarossa Vineyard Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $75 / A- / lush fruit, black pepper
2009 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $80 / A- / very lively, chocolate, blueberry, tart finish
1999 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $150 / A- / holding up well, smooth tannin, some wood, light finish
2010 Cresta Velia Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $65 / B+ / juicy, quite sweet
2009 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet / $90 / B / big and burly
2009 Haber Family Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $95 / A- / great body, fruit meets wood
2010 Haber Family Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $120 / B / still quite tight, big wood notes
2008 Howell at the Moon Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $85 / B- / Old World style; a bit thin
2010 Howell Mountain Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $75 / B+ / surprisingly sweet, especially for a 2010
2009 John Robert Eppler Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $65 / B+ / modest, straightforward
2005 La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot / $70 / A / a big surprise; huge but balanced; lots of fruit and cocoa
2004 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $NA / B+ / lots going on, very tannic, giant
2006 Neal Family Vineyards Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon / $75 / B / barnyard notes, big body, chewy
2008 Notre Vin Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $150 / B+ / smooth, amlost simple, easy fruit character
2009 O’Shaugnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $80 / A / lovely, great balance with supple fruit
2011 Outpost Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $75 / A / lush and balanced; lovely and nearly perfect, even for a pre-release wine
2009 Pina Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Buckeye Vineyard / $85 / A / drinking perfectly; black pepper, fruit, long finish
2010 Pine Ridge Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $90 / B+ / drinking well, lots of wood, brambly, blackberries
2009 Press Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $50 / B / first vintage of 50 cases; young, some sweetness, like Jolly Ranchers
2008 Red Cap Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $65 / A- / pretty, nice fruit, very fresh
2009 Red Cap Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $65 / A- / similar, slightly bigger body
2009 Retro Cellars Retro Cellars Old Vine Howell Mountain Petite Sirah / $42 / B- / clunky, a bit pruny
2009 Roberts + Rogers Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon / $60 / B / huge fruit notes; long finish
2007 Sbragia Rancho del Oso Cabernet Sauvignon / $80 / B+ / complicated, a little green; candylike finish
2009 Sbragia Cimarossa Cabernet Sauvignon / $80 / A- / better balance; lively
2007 SPENCE Howell Mountain 100% Cabernet Sauvignon / $65 / A- / lovely body; lush with an easy finish
2009 SPENCE Howell Mountain 100% Cabernet Sauvignon / $72 / B+ / tighter, more wood influence
2008 Summit Lake Emily Kestrel Howell Mountain Cabernet / $60 / A- / light jam notes; good body

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>