Proprietors Kathy and Frank Dotzler along with winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown have quickly pushed this estate high on Howell Mountain to one of the leaders of that appellation. These wines all possess considerable character and the 2008s have certainly lived up to my forecast from last year, especially the Cabernets, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel."
Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2008
Zinfandel from Napa Valley, California
The Zinfandel from 2008 features a firmer, more savory constitution than in years past. The fruit concentration is certainly there but it's the complexity that's the most striking element in this wine. Usually the brambly, briary aspect coupled with tannin shuts down the fruit component of this bottling for the first few years of the wine's life. That's not the case here where all the nuances of the wines are in full balance. It's hard to say why but my guess is this is the best we've done managing tannins in the Zinfandel. Given how late we pick at Outpost, we were fully aware of the potential concentration and tannin capability present in 2008 when these grapes came into the winery.
Wine Enthusiast - "A brilliant 2008 Zinfandel from Howell Mountain exhibits abundant notes of raspberries, briery mountain fruit and spice intermixed with good minerality and a medium to full-bodied, pure, long finish. Outpost has done a terrific job from this site, the old Lamborn Family Vineyard.
International Wine Cellar - "Good deep red. High-toned aromas of plum, mocha, licorice, menthol, black pepper and exotic herbs. Plump, lush and sweet, with harmonious acidity framing the redcurrant and spice flavors. Finishes with substantial ripe, building tannins and repeating notes of pepper and menthol. This is creamier than usual for this consistently excellent zinfandel at this early stage but there's no shortage of structure or minerality here."
Wine Spectator - "Dense and tightly wound, with minty black currant aromas and firm, complex flavors of dark plum, licorice and loam wrapped in tight tannins. Needs time. Best from 2012 through 2016. 950 cases made."
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Outpost stands high atop Howell Mountain, purched 2200 feet above the floor of the Napa Valley. It was established in 1998 with the vision of making wines that reflect the place in which the fruit was grown. The vineyards are high altitude, with hard rocky red volcanic soil and sunny southwestern exposures. The wines currently being produced off the Outpost vineyards are Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Petite Sirah. They also produce a vineyard-designated wine from their other estate property, True Vineyards. This vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The guiding principle of their winemaking program is to realize the full potential of their vineyards while creating wines with a true sense of place. View all Outpost Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
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.
Notable FactsWithin 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.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold