Angwin Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
The 2017 Angwin Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon openswith roses, blood orange, dried fruit with hints of crushedherbs and exotic spice. The flavor profile is a complex blend of fresh and dried fruit with crushed herbs, cedar, leather, pipe tobacco, and minerality with well integrated tannin. The signature long, refined finish is on full display.
This wine pairs well with a wide variety of food with best choices being grilled meat, hearty pasta in red sauce, grilled vegetables like broccolini and asparagus, and beef stew. Cheese like Compté, Gruyere, Humbolt Fog, and aged Gouda are also great choices.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Juicy and lush, with bright plum, black cherry, and spice. Silky and ripe, tangy and exuberant; long and balanced, expressive and stylish.
The differences between this wine and its younger, more deeply fruited mate from the 2018 vintage are not great, but they are enough to earn the latter higher rating. The 2017 version is a tad less rich and sports a slightly sweet-and-savory mix of oak, herbs and dusty soils lending a good degree of complexity to its properly varietal, blackcurrant-like fruit and comes with a well knit complement of fine, structural tannins. Neither gruff nor rough, it nonetheless takes on a fair sense of grip as it goes, and, if very likely to reach peak form a few years sooner than does its aforementioned 2018 incarnation, it still deserves no less than a half-decade of forbearance.
Angwin Estate Vineyards is a tiny micro-boutique estate in the Howell Mountain appellation of the Napa Valley in California. The vineyard is relatively unique, as the exposure is northeast and overlooks the north end of Pope Valley to the east, rather than the Napa Valley to the west. The high altitude and northeastern exposure mean cooler temperatures and lower cumulative heat during the growing season. Angwin Estate’s high altitude site is 18% cooler than To Kalon, 25% cooler than Rutherford, and slightly cooler than some places in the Carneros appellation which is right on the San Pablo Bay. The cooler weather leads to wines of subtle complexity with floral aromas, bright fruit, crushed herbs, pipe tobacco, leather, graphite, petrichor, and refined well-integrated tannin.
Jon Larson lives on the property, farms the small vineyard, and makes the wine at a custom crush facility in Napa where he acts as his own winemaker. He grew up on the property when it was forest, leaving home to study molecular genetics at Princeton. After a career in surgery and cardiac surgery, he returned home to pursue his passion. Most of the farming is done by hand using organic and biorational methods with each vine being touched 10-25 times depending on the season. It is a family affair with his wife and occasionally his young sons getting in on the act. Seasonal labor is used for larger, time-sensitive tasks. Winemaking concentrates on allowing fruit from a special place its own expression. Prior to bottling, all barrels are tasted and only the best of the best are selected for inclusion in the Angwin bottling.
The resulting wines have been described as ‘a tip of the hat to Bordeaux from Howell Mountain’ and will really please consumers who miss ‘old school’ Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Fans of Corison, old vintages of Dunn, and Togni will really appreciate these wines.
Winemaking in Howell Mountain was abandoned during Prohibition, and wasn’t reawakened until the arrival of Randy Dunn, a talented winemaker famous for the success of Caymus in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early eighties, he set his sights on the Napa hills and subsequently astonished the wine world with a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Shortly thereafter Howell Mountain became officially recognized as the first sub-region of Napa Valley (1983).
With vineyards at 1,400 to 2,000 feet in elevation, they predominantly sit above the fog line but the days in Howell Mountain remain cooler than those in the heart of the valley, giving the grapes a bit more time on the vine.
The Howell Mountain AVA includes 1,000 acres of vineyards interspersed by forestlands in the Vaca Mountains. The soils, shallow and infertile with good drainage, are volcanic ash and red clay and produce highly concentrated berries with thick skins. The resulting wines are full of structure and potential to age.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.