The first two things you notice are how delicious the flavors are and how gentle the tannins are. Blackberries, cherries, raspberries and mulberries mingle with 80% new oak to provide a thrill of a palate experience. As for those tannins, they’re as ripe and sweet as a hot vintage and modern viticulture can provide, but this wine should do all sort of interesting…
Textbook Howell Mountain Cabernet, classic in the volume of its tannins and the intensity of its fruit. Massive and delicious in blackberry, currant, dark chocolate and oak flavors that sink down into the palate and stay there. So good now, it’s hard not to drink, but should develop bottle complexity over the next 10 years.
This hits the jackpot. You taste it and are struck by its incredible richness, but then the balance kicks in, making it all the more impressive. It shows intense mountain flavors of blackberry, currant and dark chocolate, which are set into firm tannins. New oak brings delicious layers of vanilla and buttered toast. So good now, you can hardly keep your hands off…
Before you is this amber, almost apple-cider-colored wine. You breathe in some of the classy, subdued quince and vanilla aromas. Then you taste the powerful nutty, baked-apple flavors and you have it all figured out: This is a blue-chip beauty with fabulous complexity and quality from head to toe. Corton-Charlemagne meets its match.
Tighter and more tannic than this winery’s Howell Mountain bottling, and more concentrated in blackberry and cherry essence. This is an extraordinarily young wine that defines the vintage’s potential. It requires patience, but the balance is such that it’s a lock for the long haul. Cellar until 2010 and beyond.
The winery’s Affinity bottling has had mixed results over the years, but this is one of their best, right up there with the 2007. It’s a beautiful wine, absolutely dry, tannic, smooth and complex in black currant flavor. A bright streak of acidity provides wonderful balance, and should help the wine to age through at least 2019.
Full, with lots of structure, this offers concentrated grape and blackberry aromas that open to black-currant and cedar-spice flavors. A fine fruit-acid balance on the full, even palate keeps it lively, even in its fairly youthful and closed state. Dusty tannins and sweet-and-sour black fruits on the long but tight finish close this appealing package.
Pretty closed down and tannic now, but keep on chewing and you’ll hit the cherries and blackberries. That core is pure and rich and fruity sweet, but it will take time to assert itself. Enjoy now with a good steak, or stick in the cellar for a long time.