This Howell Mountain Merlot is a fierce testament to what is possible for one of the great grapes in the world of wine. Just beautiful up-front fruit merges with tremendous flesh and powerful structure, providing the scaffolding necessary to age Merlot into its next glorious phase in bottle.
Our third vintage, this 2015 Howell Mountain Merlot is blowing Craig Cab lovers away. And, while many wineries make Merlot as an afterthought, this release was very intentional, indeed.
Fruit for this Merlot is sourced from both our Howell Mountain and Candlestick Ridge estate vineyards, each offering elevations of over 2300 feet. With yields of less than two tons per acre, the sparse red volcanic and tufa soil produce beautifully concentrated Merlot. Here on the sparse, rocky soils of Howell Mountain, Merlot develops dense mouthfeel deep color, tremendous flesh and powerful structure.
After three abundant, mild harvests in a row, the 2015 kicked off with unseasonably warm temperatures, resulting in early budbreak and bloom. Colder temperatures in May (the peak of bloom) caused some uneven fruit set which ultimately resulted in a smaller crop compared to previous years. Harvest was one of the earliest on record on the valley floor, while mountain fruit lingered on the vine into mid-October. The ongoing drought continued to be a concern, though Napa Valley received 75% of normal rainfall. Dense mouthfeel combines with deep color, tremendous flesh and powerful structure in this gorgeous example of Napa Valley Mountain Merlot.
The 2015 edition sees the addition of the dark, intense fruit from our Candlestick Ridge Vineyard that provides another level of complexity and body. This rare wine should cellar comfortably for decades to come, but the fruit and exuberance makes our Howell Mountain Merlot a treat to enjoy even while young.