During his annual winter trip to the Napa Valley, our domestic buyer was tasting wines atop Howell Mountain. If you know anything about the layout of the Napa Valley, Howell Mountain is an area where many of the best wines are made, including Lail, O'Shaughnessy, Lokoya, La Jota, Arkenstone, Dunn, Cimarossa...you get the point. But to make another point, there was a new label showing their wine. Now, this happens every year, but this wine...stood out.
Proprietors Dave and Kathleen Decesaris have a pretty long history in the wine industry. We's like to think that they "honed in" their Napa Valley know-how while shopping at our store, but it's really all Kathleen's background. See, she was a wine educator at Freemark Abbey in the 1990's, which gave her easy access to the regions very best growers, vintners, and winemakers. As for Dave, during an impromptu day trip to Napa Valley, Dave followed the advice he came across in a randomly purchased guidebook and visited Freemark Abbey Winery. It was there that he met his soon to be wife and partner, Kathleen, who introduced him to the basics of viticulture and the concept of vineyard-designated wines. This introduction to the importance of site and mesoclimate ignited his passion to produce single vineyard, single varietal Napa Valley cabernets.
Their Howell Mountain vineyard, surrounding forest and rugged mountain scenery is reminiscentof the continuous interaction between the unique natural elements of the site and the vines. Rocky soils combined with warm days and cool night privide an ideal microclimate for Cabernet Sauvignon. Sustainably farmed by highly acclaimed viticulturist Jim Barbour (who has also farmed the properties at Hundred Acre, Kelly Fleming, and Au Sommet), the rocky, volcanic soils, excellent drainage and long growing season of this west facing Howell Montain AVA site combine to produce complex fruit featuring ripe yet age-worthy tannins, crisp acidity and alluring mountain cabernet flavors.
Celia Welch is one of North America's most significant winemakers and believes wine should speak to the unique qualities and characteristics of the vineyard. Her exceptionally talented hand has crafted some of the most notable Cabernet Sauvignons to come out of the Napa Valley, including Scarecrow, Staglin, Lindstrom, and her own Corra label
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "This is my first time tasting this new project high up on Howell Mountain with winemaker Celia Welch and WOW—what an impressive start! I asked Celia how she managed to produce a wine of such crunchiness, freshness and purity in 2017. 'It probably barely got above 90 degrees during the Labor Day heat wave up there,' she said with a smile. The longer, cooler growing season certainly shows in the finesse of these beauties. A vineyard to watch!"
"Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon has a slightly broody nose to begin, offering glimpses at damp earth, charcoal and underbrush scents over a core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and black raspberries with touches of pencil lead and dried Provence herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has bold freshness and a myriad of earthy sparks, framed by ripe grainy tannins, finishing long with tons of bright, crunchy black fruit. 250 cases were made."
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Showing similar to last year, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a terrific wine offering full-bodied aromas and flavors of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, incense, and gravelly minerality. Pure, balanced, and elegant, it's a terrific wine that will keep for two decades."