2006 Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 3L
94 Points - Wine Spectator
The Howell Mountain Vineyard is located at an elevation of 1,600 to 1,800 feet, with gently rolling terrain. The volcanic soils are iron-rich, red, clay loam with an abundance of gravel which allows for excellent drainage. The climate at this vineyard is very unique. Because of the high elevation, the vineyard sits above the fog line and so receives sun for a longer duration during the day. Furthermore, the temperatures are cooler in the day and warmer at night than the valley floor. This longer sun exposure and warmer nights allow the Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen evenly and to full maturity every year.
Fruit from Howell Mountain arrived at the winery on dates ranging from September 28 - to November 1, 2006. The wine was aged for 21 months in 49% new French oak barrels with the remainder one, two and three year old French barrels. Fermentation lengths on average were 13 days with native yeasts contributing to over 2/3 of the fermentations. The wines were pressed at or before dryness with no extended fermentations. The wine is unfiltered and unfined. The blend is comprised of lots from 15 different vineyard blocks of which most were planted in 1997. The wine was bottled on August 11, 2008.
The 2006 growing season was a challenge with everything from winter floods, late bud break, a prolonged heat wave in July and even some threatening fires in September. Considering all of these challenges, we still had an overall cool growing season, almost no rain and a generally low yield with uniform ripening and high quality.
The 2006 Ladera Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is as deep and dark in color as it is in aroma and flavors. The nose on this wine is floral and smoky with rich blackberry aromas. The entry is elegant and soft with flavors of dark cherries, blueberry, cocoa, and spiced plum. The palate is layered with well structured tannins which lead to a long and complex finish of dark currant.
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