Howell Mountain belongs to the volcanic mountain range that flanks Napa Valley on its east side. This wine captures the rich, powerful flavors of Howell Mountain, with complexity from a selection of Cabernet Sauvignon clones. Matches boldly flavored foods, like strip loin steak with wild mushrooms and roasted fingerling potatoes.
The 2014 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon reveals its provenance with intense blackberry, cassis notes framed by dynamic, mouth-coating tannins. Hints of bay laurel, bittersweet chocolate, earthy forest-loam and dried rose petal further speak to its sourcing from grapes grown in iron-laden, red volcanic loam soils high up on Howell Mountain. This rich, powerful wine will benefit from a decade of bottle aging; however, if served in its youth, we recommend decanting before serving.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated berries and high quality. February's rains brought the total rainfall up from low to adequate, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24; Provenance was fortunate to come through unscathed. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage's 'ripened-to-perfection' grapes.
We sourced 90 percent of the grapes from a small Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard planted to several different clones in 1994 on the Howell Mountain plateau. Here, at 1,700 feet, the vines begin spring budbreak later because of cooler temperatures, but the grapes have longer hours of solar radiation; being above the fog-line; for ripening. Howell Mountain; part of the volcanic Vaca Range on the northeastern side of Napa Valley; has such unique soils and mesoclimates that it was designated the first official sub-appellation of Napa Valley in 1983.
The hand-harvested grapes were lightly crushed and then the must was cold soaked for gentle extraction before fermentation began. A portion of the wine was entirely fermented in small French oak barrels for enhanced integration of oak character, with the balance in stainless-steel tanks. To soften tannins, we allowed the wine to ferment slightly warmer (90 degrees Fahrenheit) than usual. Four rackings naturally clarified the wine and it was bottled without fining.
Before starting at Provenance, Chris traveled the world to work harvests in many areas including Germany and Australia and returned to school to earn his Masters degree from the University of California, Davis, in 2002.
"Winemaking is about expressing the character of the place. Each vineyard has it own distinct personality. During the winemaking process we try to highlight and polish the best attributes while smoothing out any rough edges. Whether we blend fruit from different vineyards or emphasize a single vineyard block, our goal is to get all the grapes to play nice with each other. When we're successful the final wine is a harmonious expression of origin--whether that origin is a single vineyard, multiple vineyards, and appellation or a sub appellation."
|Oak Treatment||Aged 22 months in French oak (70% new)|
|Blend||100% Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Case Production||264 cases|