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Robert Craig Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • W&S96
  • WE94
14.8% ABV
  • RP95
  • JS94
  • RP95
  • RP95
  • W&S90
  • JS92
  • RP91
  • RP90
  • RP96
  • WE94
  • WS92
  • RP93
  • WE92
  • WE94
  • W&S92
  • WE92
  • RP92
  • RP90
  • WS90
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14.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Lovely aromas of dark red fruit, mountain lavender and white pepper are layered with Howell Mountain's dusty volcanic perfume. Succulent, wild mountain berries and raspberry preserves are enlivened by pretty notes of wildflowers, signature Howell Mountain pepper and sweet spice. More deep berry, black cherry and dusty red stone flavors pour through with great weight in the mid-palate, building to a deliciously long finish. Exceptional structure defines this Cabernet; exhibiting lively and expressive flavors, complimented byround, full tannins. Decanting is recommended.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 96
Wine & Spirits
Howell Mountain cabernets are often noted for the power of their tannins. This one shares that power: Grown on red volcanic soils at the estate vineyard adjacent to Robert Craig's Winery - the west face of a ridge top closing in on 2,300 feet - it builds intensity out of dark fruit tones and the black spice of its tannins. At first, those tannins feel luxurious, richly layered with cedar and cool forest scents. Their complexity gains with air, as does the wine's refinement, subsuming power into tremendous length of flavor. It brings on a scent memory of camping in the woods - a cabernet that excites the senses, structured to develop for years in the bottle.
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
An awesome Cabernet, as deep and dramatic as they come. It shows the incredibly concentrated blackberry and cassis fruit of Howell Mountain, along with firm tannins. Lots of new oak provides powerful notes of toast and caramel, but the wine is so big it easily handles the barrel influence. This needs time, and will begin to mellow by 2018 and glide through its changes for many years beyond.
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Robert Craig Cellars

Robert Craig Cellars

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Robert Craig Cellars, Napa Valley, California
Robert Craig Winery showcases four Cabernet Sauvignons produced from Napa Valley mountain and hillside vineyards, including Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate vineyard, Affinity, a classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet, and powerhouse Cabernets from Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain. Each wine conveys a unique personality derived from the soils, climate and varietal characteristics of the growing region. Robert Craig has been a pioneer in mountain vineyard development for over 30 years. During the 1980s, he directed vineyard and winery development on Mount Veeder. Robert Craig wines debuted in 1992. The winery facility is located at 2300 feet atop Howell Mountain, with a Tasting Salon in Downtown Napa.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, 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's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California 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 revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

YNG353721_2010 Item# 126674