St. Clement Vineyards
2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Steinhauer Ranch
California: Howell Mountain (Napa)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Howell Mountain Cab from St. Clement Vineyards is an exceptional wine with exceptional fruit. If you are a fan of the wines from St. Clement, then this wine belongs in your collection.
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Mission Codename: The View From Above
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exception Howell Mountain Cab for our operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: St. Clement Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Danielle Cyrot
Napa County’s Howell Mountain AVA, established in 1984 is known for its wines of deep concentration and intensity. The higher elevation and relatively flat aspect make the location great for vineyards, and specifically Cabernet Sauvignon. The first vines in the Howell Mountain area were planted in the 1880s.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark purple, and almost black with a dark inky core and purple to ruby hued edges. When swirled, this wine leaves slow fat tears along the edge of the glass that show hints of this wine’s deep color.
Smell – Bold in intensity, but not overpowering with aromas of rich and ripe blackberry, blueberry and other dark fruit layered over an earthy, spicy white pepper and licorice base. As you further explore the well developed aromas of this wine hints of floral rose, sweet toasted oak, baking spices and a slight note of wild bramble brush.
Feel – Initially spicy, but this full-bodied wine softens and smoothes dramatically into a rich and opulent mouth-feel with firm, but fine grained tannins and easy acidity with lingering hints of spice on the edges of the tongue.
Taste -Ripe, rich and concentrated dark fruit and especially blueberry, blackberry and plum layered over a subtle sweet oak, spicy white pepper, and a touch of licorice. Earthy notes and touches of wild brush round out the complex but very approachable flavors in this wine.
Finish – Long and rich with lingering fruit supported but an excellent structure that invites one sip (and in our case, large gulps!) after another leaving you with hints of earth, spice and fruit as you explore all the flavors and aromas that linger.
Conclusion – The is just something about St. Clement wines that makes them so approachable and oh so delicious. If you tasted any of them, you will know that the fruit just stands out in an exceptional way. Howell Mountain is known for wines of dramatic concentration, and this wine delivers on that, but does so with lovely fruit framed by its earthy, spicy, and sweet oak making drinking this wine a pure joy. As this wine opens and breathes, it softens dramatically but still has the structure to stand on its own and will certainly cellar for many years to come.
The following is an extract from our first-encounter mission report, in which Agent White first becomes acquainted with our now-good friends at St. Clement:
It was perhaps the strangest of locations to start a wine mission. I entered the church and as the instructions indicated, I was to go to the second pew and show penance. As I knelt, in the pew, I noticed a book with a bookmark in it. Looking more closely, it was a history of the Papacy and the page that was bookmarked was about Pope Clement I (Clemens Romanus), who is also known as St. Clement. No being sure if this was the clue, I stayed for another hour and beyond the woman practicing on the organ, nobody came or went from the church.
Back at HQ, I entered in our research computer the search term ‘Clement’ and found that indeed, the bookmark was a clue. All signs pointed in the direction of St. Clement Vineyards in Napa Valley. We had an asset who could get us some additional intel so I PIN messaged Agent Malbec and within a few hours a courier had delivered a bottle of the St. Clement to our front company.
The bottle was immediately taken to the lab for analysis. The results were clear; It was an almost perfect wine, with fruit from one of the best vineyards in Napa. St. Clement had been on our radar for a couple months. Their winemaker Danielle Cyrot, with a long lineage of European winemakers was making quite a name for herself.
But as we always say, the proof is in the juice… Lab results, research, walks through the vineyards are all nice, but its in the glass that matters… Well, there’s no knelling for St. Clement wines. After tasting it, we were jumping for joy.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Howell Mountain region in Napa County can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
St. Clement Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate – “Opaque ruby/purple in color, this is the most full-bodied and powerful of these wines, with good sweetness as well as notes of blueberry and boysenberry intermixed with flowers, crushed rocks, and background oak. It is a solidly made, big wine that will need 2-3 years of cellaring, and should drink well for 15 or more years.”
Voted Best Boutique Winery Two Years In A Row By Napa and Sonoma Valleys magazine.
Voted Best Local Winemaker – Winemaker Danielle Cyrot By Napa and Sonoma Valleys magazine.
About This Wine:
Pronounced aromatics of strawberry jam, red cherry, raspberry jam, vanilla, clove, anise, and cooked blueberries are the introduction to this rich Cabernet Sauvignon. Enticing flavors of black currants, brambles, and red delicious apple greet the palate before transitioning to complex flavors of brown spices and cumquat on the mid palate. This well balanced wine offers big tannin and structure, promoting a long and elegantly structured finish with the potential to age for many years to come.
Steinhauer Ranch is located 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley on esteemed Howell Mountain. The fruit for this Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a relatively flat section of the vineyard surrounded by Redwoods. As a result these vineyards experience a very long, even growing season and are often the last picked at Harvest. The juice is fermented on the skins in open top fermentors and punched down three times a day to extract all of the beautiful flavors and tannin in the wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon is then barrel aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels. All of these techniques combine to increase the depth and complexity of the wine – thus producing a well balanced Cabernet Sauvignon.
About The Winery:
The philosophical approach to winemaking at St Clement is all about the land of Napa Valley. Much has been written about the idyllic nature and diversity of this 50-mile long valley. It is this diversity that forms the foundation for our approach to winemaking.
As an artist holds many colors on the palette to create subtle hues, we hold a collection of vineyards from the north in Calistoga to the south in Carneros and from the alluvial benches of the valley floor at Rutherford to the cloud clinging heights of Mt Veeder.
We take the fruit from this collection of small, independent growers to balance, blend and build our wines into totalities that mirror the complexity and beauty of the Napa valley itself.
About The Winemaker:
Danielle Cyrot – Winemaker, St. Clement Vineyards – As the third decade of her life begins, Danielle Cyrot brings a broad scope of international winemaking expertise that extends well beyond her age. And as the descendant of French vignerons whose history goes back for centuries, she is also renewing an enological tradition that had been dormant for three generations.
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Howell Mountain
Harvest Dates: October 18th, 2004
Bottling Completed: June 2006
Case Production: 561 cases