Howell Mountain Vineyards makes just two wines from its special Beatty Ranch Vineyard—Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The 2010 releases of these wines, reviewed below, offer the full body and bold flavors that characterize Howell Mountain wines.
The wines are sourced from old low-yielding dry-farmed vines grown at 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain. Home to some of the region’s oldest vines, the Zinfandel was planted at the turn of the 20th century and the Cabernet Sauvignon over 40 years ago. Located above the fog line, Howell Mountain Vineyards offers a unique micro-climate distinct from the Napa Valley floor.
Vineyard owner Mike Beatty (pictured here) acquired the property in 1977 and with his pioneering spirit developed Beatty Ranch into one of the finest sources of high quality fruit on Howell Mountain. Some of California’s finest winemakers such as James Hall, Ted Lemon and Dave Phinney have made the wine at Howell Mountain Vineyards. Today winemaking is under the direction of Bryn Kane, formerly with Copain, DuMOL and other notable wineries.
Howell Mountain Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Napa Valley ($75) 90 The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts aromas of black currant and blackberry on the nose. On the palate it reveals bold and spicy red and black fruit flavors, a velvet texture and a persistent finish. It will offer drinking pleasure for the next 5 to 7 years. No fining or filtering.
Howell Mountain Vineyards 2010 Zinfandel Old Vine Howell Mountain Napa Valley ($45) 88 The 2010 Zinfandel Old Vine Howell Mountain displays a dark ruby color and aromas of black cherry, black pepper and spice. It offers good intensity of blackberry and licorice on the palate, followed by firm dry tannins and a long finish. No fining or filtering.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler