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Outpost Howell Mountain Zinfandel 2010

Zinfandel from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • WS93
  • RP92
15.7% ABV
  • RP92
  • WS90
  • WE92
  • WS90
  • RP93
  • WS93
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15.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

In each varietal, Outpost aims to express a singular experience with clarity, depth and richness and this Zinfandel is no exception.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 93
Wine Spectator
Dense but rich and fleshy, offering bold black currant, crushed pepper and toasty vanilla aromas, with complex black cherry, mineral and black olive flavors that are wrapped in big but ripe tannins. Drink now through 2022.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another impressive wine, the 2010 Zinfandel has developed beautifully over the last year. Today, the 2010 is rich, dark and intense. The aromas are still very much primary, so readers who like complexity and nuance will have to let this sit in the cellar for another few years. Still, it is impressive. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
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Outpost

Outpost

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Outpost, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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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.

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.

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

DOB139810_2010 Item# 139810