(from a crop level of just 1.8 tons per acre, the lowest among Robert Craig's 2011 releases): Bright, saturated medium ruby. Blueberry, menthol, mocha, herbs and pepper on the nose, plus an intriguing suggestion of iron. Suave and fine-grained, with sweet dark berry, mocha and espresso flavors accented by a peppery note. Nicely thick, pliant and ripe for the vintage, finishing with slightly dusty, firm tannins and lingering dark berry sweetness.
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is slightly more reticent aromatically with a juicy mid-palate, layers of fruit and glycerin, and a medium to full-bodied style. This is another impressive Howell Mountain offering that suggests it may have been the most successful AVA in the challenging 2011 vintage. Robert Craig Winery remains under the radar for high quality, impressive wines. (RP)
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is richer, deeper and inkier than the Mt. Veeder, but also comes across as a bit less structured, perhaps because the tannins are nearly buried by the fruit. Blackberry jam, cassis, new leather, smoke and incense all flow through to a deep, resonant finish. This is another Cabernet Sauvignon built for the cellar, even if the 2011 is very tempting, especially for such a big wine. The explosive finish leaves a deep and lasting impression. I was deeply impressed with the three 2011 Cabernets I tasted from Robert Craig. All of these wines are going to need at least a few years in the cellar, as the tannins are pretty imposing at this stage.
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