"Savory aromas of anise, blackberry and a touch of sage are followed by a lush palate of blueberry, mocha toast and that signature Howell Mountain minerality."
"The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged in 90% new French oak. Winemaker Christopher Carpenter, who is resurrecting this estate to its glory days of the early nineties, has hit pay dirt with this 2011. More charming than one normally expects of a Howell Mountain Cabernet, it possesses sweet tannin, low acidity, and lots of blueberry and black currant fruit intermixed with licorice, underbrush and foresty notes. Medium-bodied and approachable, this endearing 2011 is best drunk over the next decade. "
90 Points - The Wine Advocate
The grapes for the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon were grown on the La Jota Estate and W.S. Keyes Estate vineyards. The La Jota vineyard is located high upon a volcanic plateau overlooking Napa Valley. This unique spot, surrounded by pines, firs, oak and madrone trees, is characterized by cool-climate terroir and winds that sweep up the canyon. A selection of the softer-textured Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard blocks give this wine earlier approachability, while capturing the full expression of La Jota’s cool-climate terroir. The W.S. Keyes vineyard, a mile down the road and with a very different terroir, provides a “pop” of bright fruit character and broader tannins.
We hand-harvested the grapes into small, 30-pound boxes to prevent crushing, and then brought them to our winery for hand sorting. After destemming and light crushing, the must was cold soaked for gentle color, flavor and tannin extraction. To bridle the “mountain tannins”, Chris added small amounts of oxygen into the wine with two to three "splashing pump-overs" a day during the primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded the acidity and softly integrated the vanillin character of the new French oak barrels. To further enhance the wine’s elegance, we racked the wine three times during its 19 months of barrel aging.