Mission Codename A Beattyful thing
Defcon 1 Zinfandel alert!! Near 60% OFF, from Howell Mountain, with 91 points! But there’s so much more to unpack, so let’s get into it quickly because THIS WILL FLY!
This Zin is actually born from two legendary vineyards.
Black Sears and Beatty Ranch - both perched high atop Howell Mountain.
When Joyce Black and Jerre Sears moved to their new home here in the late 1970s, little did they know that their neighbor Mike Beatty would - in less than a decade - partner with them to build a winery that named the rugged AVA that arguably makes some of the top high-elevation wines of Napa Valley.
As Alder Yarrow of Vinography brilliantly phrased, “Two vineyards are better than one, certainly, but combining two properties to create a new winery doesn’t always make for better wine. That is, of course, unless you are combining two world-class vineyards that define an appellation. These vineyards have long supplied grapes to some of the highest-end wines that claim the Howell Mountain appellation, including Ridge, Dunn, Cornerstone, Turley, Duckhorn, Elyse, Cakebread…”
For their inaugural vintage, they worked with none other than Littorai’s Ted Lemon as winemaker. These days, having parted ways, Thomas Rivers Brown makes Black Sears and Bryan Kane makes Beatty Ranch. A decade ago Wine Business announced his appointment with Kane’s star-studded resume: “over the last ten years, Kane has worked out of several wineries like Copain (next to the likes of Donum, DuMOL, and Carlisle) and Nicholson Ranch (where Shrader Cellar and others were made.)”
Mind you, this is ain’t your daddy’s happy brambly valley floor Zin. On the contrary, it features true mountain grit, that exists in that happy medium where Cab lovers meet Zin fanatics.
The saturated deep ruby color in the glass is quite the appetizing opener for aromas of crystallized black cherry, violet, spices, and minerals. Dense, sweet, and multilayered, it’s youthfully firm, shapely, and robust. Offers lovely purity and balance, as it finishes very rich but dry, with even, tongue-dusting tannins. There is an unmistakable authoritativeness that only mountain fruit can possess.
Consider some other names who make Howell Mountain Zinfandel. Names such as Black Sears, Outpost, Turley, Robert Craig, Dark Matter. And think what they cost. With almost 60% savings, this youthful beauty direct from the winery library sits at the rock bottom in terms of pricing - but the value is sky high. Easily the best Napa Zin we’ll see for a while… while it lasts!
91 Points – Connoisseurs’ Guide
“Ample ripeness, as this well-made Zinfandel so capably demonstrates, need not come at the cost of balance and polish, and, when met with as much deep and energetic fruit as is on display here, is no liability. The wine is quite full in body but is not sprawling or oversized, and its linear, very long-lasting flavors are marked by a striking sense of varietal purity and early gleanings of further layering to come with age. We see it deepening and becoming even more interesting with time, and, while not at all difficult to taste now, it is sure to reward a good half-decade of keeping.”
90 Points – Wine Enthusiast
“From some of the oldest plantings on the producer’s mountain site, planted pre-Prohibition, this wine is thick, dense and plummy in dried fruit, tobacco and oak. Generous tannin structure makes it strong in style, dominant in blackberry, cherry and dark chocolate as it finishes.”
What the Winery Says
2016 'Old Vine' Howell Mountain Zinfandel
- Bryan Kane
- 100% Zinfandel
- Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
- Beatty Ranch Vineyard
- 20 months
- 100% French oak