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.
Appellation: Howell Mountain
Barrel Aging: 22 Months, 100% French Oak (70% New)
Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Production: 264 cases
The 2014 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon reveals its provenance with intense blackberry, cassis and
plum 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.
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.
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.
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.