||Red Wine Blend
||October 4-21, 2010
||67% new French oak, 33% 2-yr oak - St. Martin, Baron, Ermitage
With its beguiling blend of wild mountain fruit sourced from this legendary AVA, our 2010 Howell Mountain Hillside Blend is a striking example of power, precision and derring-do.
Upon first sight the wine’s intensity is evident. Deeply dark red in hue, the wine’s aromas tease with rich red fruit and spice. The mouth, deftly presents a dramatic juxtaposition best characterized as “Marilyn Monroe meets Margaret ‘Thatcher” at once beckoning alluringly, only to reveal a focused vigor, graced by austere elegance. Upon the palate, the wine is powerful and precise, evoking ripe black cherry, freshness, and minerality. Twenty six months of aging in French oak provides the subtlety of sweet barrel spices and toast that sustain throughout the finish. This wine is undoubtedly big, and sure to evolve handsomely in the bottle over the next 5-10 years.
The grapes that made this wine were grown in an east-facing hillside Howell Mountain vineyard perched 2100 feet above the Napa Valley floor. The terraced vineyard is planted on an extreme slope, producing thick-skinned clusters capable of creating a wine with intensity, structure, elegance, and weight. Notwithstanding the curious 2010 growing season, the merlot was picked at 27 Brix, with the cabernet picked 3 weeks later at 26 Brix.
Howell Mountain – Block J1, N1, O2
Philippe Melka, Bordeaux-bred (Chateau Haut Brion, Petrus) and– recently heralded by Robert Parker as one of the top nine winemakers in the world. “Where possible, I will minimize winemaking techniques in the cellar so I can create a wine that tells the story of the vineyard. In the end, it must be about the fruit.”