“The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec and a splash of Merlot that spent 18 months in 80% new French oak. It has a darker, mineral-driven style in its blue fruits, smoked earth, charcoal, and graphite aromatics. These give way to a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, fresh, lively 2015 that’s going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15+.”
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (12/29/17)
Once again in 2015, Howell Mountain produced something quite extraordinary at harvest time. This release continues to be sourced primarily from our nine-acre Winery Estate vineyard that surrounds the winery, but this is also the first vintage that includes some fruit – both Cabernet and Merlot – from our new Candlestick Ridge vineyard just beyond the winery.
The nine-acre Winery Estate Vineyard continues to demand constant attention – with huge variation in soils and microclimates. This site always has tiny yields – on average a meager 1.8 tones per acre. 2015 was even scarcer than usual, with early budbreak followed by cooler temperatures leading to a smaller crop.
Just down the road, Candlestick Ridge is the northernmost vineyard in the Howell Mountain AVA and is slightly warmer than the summit ridge where the Winery Estate vineyard lies. Candlestick is influenced by warm air from Pope Valley to the east and – at its slightly lower elevation – it is protected from the constant wind that hits the ridge line. The big subsurface boulders were removed during the replanting, leaving thin tufa soil on top of a rocky volcanic bedrock.
The Candlestick fruit added darker fruit aromatics and a fleshy, more opulent mid-palate. This blends beautifully with the wild, bramble berry character of the Estate Vineyard fruit, really opening up the complexity, depth and flavor of this wine. You’ll notice the fruit notes enter the arena in a more pronounced way with the 2015, offering a generous dose of luxury on the palate.
BLEND: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 1% Merlot
HARVEST DATES: September 15-October 8, 2015
AVERAGE SUGAR: 25.5° Brix | TA: 6.7g/L pH: 3.72 | ALCOHOL: 14.8%
BARREL AGING: 18 mo. Chateau-style French oak; 80% new. Unfiltered and unfined.
BOTTLING DATE: May 1-2, 2017 | CASES PRODUCED: 1275