Arkenstone Estate Red 2015 Front Label
Arkenstone Estate Red 2015 Front LabelArkenstone Estate Red 2015  Front Bottle Shot

Arkenstone Estate Red 2015

  • RP97
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Ruby red with deep black undertones, this dense yet elegantly focused beauty is a very special expression of the Howell Mountain terroir, and the beautiful 2015 vintage. Cassis, violet, mocha, graphite, and dried tea leaves greet the nose, along with our signature earth, sweet tobacco, and leather. A clean minerality and bright acidity are complemented by dark black cherry, star anise and mocha on the front palate while deep espresso, blackberry cobbler, blueberries, lavender and baking spices roundly fill the mid-palate. Very fine, lush tannins hold the richly dark chocolate, cassis-laden, long velvety finish. This wine is drinking beautifully balanced and youthfully vibrant right now, but will easily lie down for 30+ years.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This estate blend from Howell Mountain was formerly known as “Obsidian.” Composed of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot and 4% Malbec, the 2015 Proprietary Red Estate gives a deep garnet-purple color and aromas of spiced blackberries, fruitcake and plum pudding with suggestions of Indian spices, earth and underbrush, plus a touch of violets. Packed with rich, opulent fruit in the full-bodied mouth, it has a solid, fine-grained backbone and plenty of freshness, finishing long and multilayered. 500 cases were made.
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Arkenstone

Arkenstone

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Arkenstone, California
Arkenstone Winery Image
We first discovered, and were irretrievably drawn to this unique property in the late 1980’s. For over 20 years we have shared the beauty and mystery of Arkenstone with bear, coyote, mountain lion, rattle snake, scorpion and raptors of all sorts (as well as voracious grape eating wild turkeys). Remnants of native obsidian work, as well as walls made of local stone built during the 1800's, are constant reminders that we are just the latest inhabitants to appreciate and benefit from this land.

Our serious interest in wine and our families’ farming history perhaps made it inevitable that we would think about planting vineyards here. We knew we did not want to clear the site for an “industrial” vineyard but didn’t know whether the effort required of farming the small patches of open space using sustainable practices could be justified. Then, in early 1995, a good friend of ours, who grew up in a Napa Valley wine family and founded her own label, encouraged us. She arranged for an expert who consulted for top vineyards all over the world to come to the Napa Valley to evaluate a number of potential vineyard sites. He included Arkenstone on this visit. Test holes were dug, and on a cloudy wet day we tramped around the property talking about dirt, drainage, exposures, air movement, and, most importantly, the promise of the site. His conclusion was that wine grapes of very high quality could be produced here, and that Arkenstone was indeed a special site. We didn’t then know to say “terroir” but understood that the grapes and the wine from these vineyards could over time become a recognizable expression of our site, climate, farming and winemaking. We decided to make this promise a reality.

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Howell Mountain Wine

Napa Valley, California

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Today Cabernet Sauvignon is the star of this part of Napa’s rugged, eastern hills, but Zinfandel was responsible for giving the Howell Mountain growing area its original fame in the late 1800s.

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.

Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah thrive in this sub-appellation, as well as its founding variety, Zinfandel.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

RAE110005_2015 Item# 524393

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