The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is O’Shaughnessy’s largest cuvée of wine, nearly 3,300 cases from her vineyard, with a final blend that is somewhat unusual - 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carménère, and a rather obscure one, 3% St. Macaire. Dense purple in color, with notes of mulberry, blackberry, graphite and spring flowers, the wine has great fruit, a dense, full-bodied mouthfeel, and wonderfully sweet, well-integrated tannin. The acidity is sound, the purity impressive, and the wine long and reassuring. Drink it over the next 20+ years. One of my favorite wineries in Napa Valley, Betty O’Shaughnessy, the proprietress, bought her original vineyard on Howell Mountain in 1996 and began planting in the red, rocky, aiken volcanic soils. The elevation is a whopping 1,900 feet and is south-sloping, which is perfect for the sun exposition. (RP)
Deep, inky and powerful, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a classic wine endowed with tons of regional character and personality to burn. The inclusion of all seven Bordeaux varieties in the blend adds layers of nuance and complexity. Hints of game, smoke, licorice and dark spices add nuance to a somber, brooding Cabernet Sauvignon that is going to need at least a few years to fully open up. Betty O'Shaughnessy and her husband Paul Woolls, along with winemaker Sean Capiaux and viticulturist Alan Peirson, run one of the hidden jewels of Napa Valley. All of the wines in this lineup are recommended. The Chardonnay emerges from a vineyard in Oakville, while the Cabernets draw from sites on Mt. Veeder and Howell Mountain, where the winery is located. The Merlot is a great choice for nearer term drinking, while the Napa Valley Cabernet is one of the very best wines readers will find in its price range. Sean Capiaux makes the wines in a pretty contemporary style, with a good deal of extraction and fruit intensity that balances the mountain tannins that are inherent in these pristine hillside sites. (AG) 95+
A rich, ripe but successful interpretation of Howell Mountain, bursting with creamy blue and black fruit, spring flowers and wild spice: lavish and textural, firm mountain tannins are subsumed in waves of flavor, but the wine is nicely integrated and complete. Enjoy it for its youthful exuberance. (WK)
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