Always late to bloom and ripen, Howell Mountain develops an intensity and concentration of fruit, unlike its other Napa counterparts. Deep, chewy tannins and savory tertiary notes, with a rich midpalate. Robert Craig’s Estate Vineyard is situated at 2,300 feet near the summit of Howell Mountain, enjoying average summertime temperatures that are more than 10 degrees cooler than the valley floor, where red volcanic and tufa soils give Cabernet a wild, bramble-berry character, coupled with touches of warm stones and spice. The Candlestick Ridge Vineyard is situated nearby, planted to a combination of decomposed volcanic ash and red clay. While it receives twice as much rain as the valley floor, the soil remains dry to its porous composition.
From start to finish, 2018 was a very steady season, offering weather that was reminiscent of years prior to the drought. Higher than average yields and excellent quality brought about a fruitful harvest beginning in late August. Fermented in small 4-6 ton open-top fermenters, with thrice daily pump overs for cap management. Upon finishing fermentation the wine is allowed to rest on its skins for up to a month. Aged in 55% new French oak for 18 months. Fresh, wild blue and black fruit with ripe Bing cherry, and subtle elderflower. Deep, rustic touches of olive tapenade, with layers of boysenberry and wet earth. Supple, velvety tannins, and touches of clove and graphite on the finish.