'15 Cabernet Sauvignon - Howell Mt.
Howell Mountain AVA is so unique because it is a floating AVA - yep that's right - only vineyards above 1,400 feet qualify to be called Howell Mountain - otherwise, they only fall in Napa Valley or PERHAPS ONLY... Napa County - Yikes!!!! So any vineyard at 1,200 feet isn't in this AVA even if it is right next to my grapes and owned by the same owner. Isn't that a quandary?
Something else that's really neat about Howell Mountain is this... It's Napa Valley's first and oldest AVA. That's right! It was the very first AVA set to paper proving that something extraordinary was happening up there in the vineyards, in the forests where these grapes grow. It's pretty isolated and quite scary to be sampling grapes out there... all alone... Lions.. and ... Tigers... and... Bears... OH MY!!
Here is a little more detailed information - it is roughly about 14,000 acres total because of the elevation, the climate here is characterized by moderate temperatures that are cooler than in most other parts of the valley. The soils of this area are mostly well-drained tuff and volcanic rock. Water retention is poor, producing vines with low vigor and deep roots.
Our 2015 Cabernet Howell Mountain was given the white glove treatment from start to finish! Here's how it all happens in the winery: Day 1: Grapes Picked at Nighttime temperatures 40F and delivered to the winery, 1500 Grove Street 10 AM. Grapes crushed and destemmed with about 25% whole cluster fruit added to the bottom of the fermentation vessel. Tank Temperature set to 45F and tank set to automatic punch down every 8 hours for 7 days. Day 7: Nancy's favorite cultured yeast added and tank temperature set to 80F. Punch down set to every 4 hours for the next 3 days; then every 8 hours next 3 days; then every 12 hours next 3 days and then entire thank closed up for 30 days extended maceration on skins and seeds and juices. Pressing off at December 12th. Barrel Down and Bottling March 2016. Drink 18 months later. Yummy!!