O'Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2015
The 2015 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is dark ruby red with an opaque center. The wine opens immediately with fragrant aromas of violets, lavender, dark raspberry, pencil lead and vanilla. Cassis, cocoa, new leather, smoked meat and plum come together with a building mouthfeel full of soft silky tannins combined with focused flavors of dried cranberry, cherry jubilee and wild blackberries.
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O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery sits at 1,800 feet on the heralded Howell Mountain appellation in the beautiful Napa Valley. Founded in 1996, the estate encompasses one hundred and twenty acres. Winemaker Sean Capiaux has overseen the planting of the vineyard and selected numerous clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and all seven of the historic Bordeaux varietals for this unique property.
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery uses modern equipment to produce non-interventionist wines that are naturally fermented and bottled unfined and unfiltered. These techniques allow the varietal character and terroir of O’Shaughnessy Estate vineyards to be the stars of the show.
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. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.