Unfiltered and unfined, Robert Craig Cellars' signature Howell Mountain Cabernet
for 2004 is the most concentrated that they have produced – deep and
seamless from the opening aromatics to a long-lived finish. Crafted
from their estate vineyard atop Howell Mountain, this offering is
redolent of the Appellation's complex terroir, exhibiting abundant
dark red fruit, wild berry, white pepper and spice, enlivened by a
Bordeaux-like mineral character. Fine, supple tannins are nicely
integrated to create exceptional balance and complexity.
Aroma: An exotic perfume of dark fruit, warm spice and roasted
Flavors: Deep, abundant wild berry and black fruit flow down
the palate, accented with pepper, clove, anise and bracing mineral
Finish: Beautifully layered, complex flavors carry through on
the finish, backed by fine, silky tannins.
impressive Cabernet benefits from 30 minutes of decanting in a
pitcher before enjoying.
Robert Craig Cellars Winery
Robert Craig Winery showcases four Cabernet Sauvignons produced from Napa Valley mountain and hillside vineyards, including Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate vineyard, Affinity, a classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet, and powerhouse Cabernets from Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain. Each wine conveys a unique personality derived from the soils, climate and varietal characteristics of the growing region. Robert Craig has been a pioneer in mountain vineyard development for over 30 years. During the 1980s, he directed vineyard and winery development on Mount Veeder. Robert Craig wines debuted in 1992. The winery facility is located at 2300 feet atop Howell Mountain, with a Tasting Salon in Downtown Napa.
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It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.