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O'Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
15.5% ABV
  • RP95
  • JS93
  • V95
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  • RP94
  • RP95
  • RP94
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  • RP95
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  • RP96
  • WS90
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15.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Beginning with the 2008 vintage we took farming of all our properties in house so that now we are truly an Estate vineyard and winery operation, we have a staff of ten vineyard workers, a foreman and a vineyard manager working in conjunction with our winemaker, Sean Capiaux. Although yields were extremely low for 2008, due to one of the worst frosts in 31 years, we feel that the overall quality was extremely high.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is comprised of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest six other grapes – Merlot, Malbec, St. Macaire (how often do you see that!), Petit Verdot, Carmenere, and Cabernet Franc – and is aged 20 months in three-fourths French oak. It has a dense purple color, a wonderful, crystalline nose of crushed rock, camphor, creme de cassis and spring flowers, and a full-bodied mouthfeel. The tannins are moderately high, but they are soft and well-integrated. This is a wine of tremendous intensity and plenty of up-side. Give this wine 2-3 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 20-25 years. Rating: 94+
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O'Shaughnessy

O'Shaughnessy

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O'Shaughnessy, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
The winemaking philosophy at O'Shaughnessy Estate winery is to produce wines that express the unique character of our estate vineyards and their appellation. The winemaking style is contemporary, utilizing cutting edge fermentation equipment paired with natural, hands-on winemaking. Their emphasis is on balance; the concentrated nature of the grapes from our estate vineyards needs to be in balance with the flavors and aromas in order to produce the most harmonious wine.

Howell Mountain

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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.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. 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 has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious 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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secrets

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.

LSB110499_2008 Item# 110499