Our 2019 vintage shows why Howell Mountain is held in such high regard. Starting with aromatics reminiscnet of alpine air and freshly picked blackberries, the palate unfolds to show nuances of coffee, Santa Rosa plum and tobacco. These flavor components combine to present a dark chocolate and mocha finish with a hint of caramel. This wine should be slowly studied while enjoying a pepper-encrusted New York strip. Enjoy now through 2039.
2019 began with a wet and cool spring, which pushed bud break out two weeks later than in 2018. The summer growing season was relatively uneventful, with no heat spikes. Due to the moderate weather and late bud break, veraison did not end until early August in some areas of the valley. Autumn brought hot days and cool nights which helped push the grapes to full ripening, while preserving their acidity. As a result, the wines produced from this vintage are full and robust with deep color.
The fruit for this wine is grown at our nine acre Alta Vineyard in the Howell Mountain AVA. It sits at an elevation of 1,800 feet and features southeast-facing plantings. The rocky, well-drained volcanic soils force the vines to dig deep for water and nutrients, and to produce small, intensely flavored berries. Despite strong afternoon sun, the climate tends to be cool because of the altitude, and acidity is maintained throughout ripening. Our estate vineyard was harvested on October 25th to maximize the ripeness attributes we were looking for from the property.
The grapes were hand harvested at night, carefully sorted in the vineyard, then brought to the cellar and destemmed. The grapes received a cold soak, followed by fermentation at a high temperature to ensure maximum extraction was achieved. The wine was aged 24 months in new French oak barrels to meld the bright fruit expression with oak spice nuances. This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered to present the attributes of the vineyard in the purest form possible, from the dirt to the glass!