Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 62

YEAR'S BEST US CABERNETS & BLENDS
M T. V E E D E R

and the blend includes five percent each
of malbec and merlot from Pritchard Hill;
those factors tame the dynamic power of its
mountain-grown tannins, yielding a trumpet blare of volcanic-soil intensity. Having
tasted all four, this one struck our panelists
as the most vibrant, layering red, yellow and
orange-toned fruit in sunset colors, lasting
on herbs, smoke and depths of earthy savor.
It's a complex wine, with all of its details
aligned. -J.G. (W&S 2/20; 74 cases) §

519206

519207

2016 Howell Mountain Napa Valley The
Scholar Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Part of a
series of four "Higher Education" cabernets
from a vineyard on Howell Mountain, The
Scholar blends in a small amount of malbec
and merlot from lower elevations. It's violet scented, with a savory note of earth and
game. The structure feels formal, the volcanic tannins lasting for minutes on the breath.
Decant it if you open it now, to serve with
grilled lamb. (W&S 4/20; 71 cases) -J.G. §
521605

94 | Roots Run Deep

$150

2016 Howell Mountain Napa Valley The
Valedictorian Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Like
the 2016 Graduate, another label in this
winery's "Higher Education" line of cabernets, this blend includes malbec and merlot;
in this case, the malbec accounts for ten percent of the blend, lessening the percentage
of cabernet. The variety brings a sweetness
to the wine, a candied plum note to counter the Howell Mountain rocky bitterness of
its tannins. This is powerful, sleek and generous-Howell Mountain unconstrained.
-J.G. (W&S 2/20; 77 cases) §
521609

93 | Cakebread

WINE & SPIRITS

92 | Brandlin

91 | Roots Run Deep

90 | Ladera

$150

$100

2015 Howell Mountain Napa Valley
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Buxom in
its supple fruit richness, this has notes of
strawberries and cream along with substantial black tannins. Those tannins remain
smooth, their astringency subtle, their structure sophisticated. Oak adds a toasty frame,
the wine ready to take on roast game. - J.G. §

$155

2017 Howell Mountain Napa Valley Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Cakebread's Howell Mountain estate vineyard
rises from 1,100 to 1,900 feet in elevation,
the vines ripening their fruit above the fog
line, the varied parcels facing in most every
direction. Stephanie Jacobs, who was promoted to winemaker in 2017, found a way to
charm the fierce Howell Mountain tannins of
this wine into a luscious texture that's completely enveloping. Along with the darkplum flavors, there's a superripe note of yellow apricot and an earthy gingerroot spice
to the acidity. Remarkably accessible for a
Howell Mountain cabernet, without giving
up its sense of origin, this should age with
grace. - J.G. §

62

521600

DECEMBER 2020

519204

90 | Roots Run Deep

$150

2016 Howell Mountain Napa Valley The
Ph.D Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Mostly cabernet sauvignon from a high-elevation vineyard on Howell Mountain, The PhD contains
two percent malbec and three percent merlot from the valley floor, pointing up some
bright raspberry-like highlights over the
black tannins. It's mouthcoating and dense
when first opened, needing plenty of air to
show itself with more clarity. For the cellar.
(W&S 4/20; 160 cases) -J.G. §

$110

2016 Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Henry's Keep
Cabernet Sauvignon ^ The Brandlin family
were homesteaders on Mount Veeder in the
1870s, eventually planting vines on a high
ridge. In 1998, Chester Brandlin worked
out an arrangement giving Cuvaison the
right to purchase the vineyard and Cuvaison's winemaker, Steve Rogstad, makes the
wines today, including this blend based on
cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. The
wine's mountain-grown intensity is built on
bright strawberry flavors and blueberry-skin
tannins. It has a clean richness that should
develop well over the coming years. - J.G. §
520096

92 | Taub

$85

2014 Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet
Sauvignon ^ This wine's cool mountain freshness brings notes of forest floor and wild
strawberries, even as the fruit and tannins are
beginning to mature and merge into chewy
black-mushroom savor. The fragrance of the
fruit has intensity in the middle, then comes
up a little short in the end, leaving a gentle,
generous impression that brings you back
for another sip. -J.G. (W&S 6/20; 64 cases) §

OAK KNOLL
521643

94 | Ashes & Diamonds

$85

92 | Samuel Charles

$80

2017 Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley
Red Hen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ^
Diana Snowden Seysses makes this wine from
a vineyard in the benchlands of the Mayacamas, where the gravelly loam soil retains
enough moisture that the vines rarely need
to be irrigated. In 2017, the Red Hen Vineyard was owned by the Araujos and farmed
by Steve Matthiasson, both of whom were
working toward organic certification (now it
is owned by Phelps). The quiet grace of this
wine makes a strong case for a prime site
that warrants careful farming. The voice of
the site comes through in woodland scents
of purple flowers, cool herbs and a vibrant
intensity without weight. It's ripe rather than
fruity, powered by earthy tension, with longevity to its flavors that leaves a lovely, delicious memory after each sip. - J.G. §
521644
2018 Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon ^ Robert Pepi makes
this cabernet for the Kreps family of Quintessential Wines. It's a lively, youthful wine
with energy to spare, Italianate in its scents
of fresh cherry tomatoes and its dark flavors
of blackberries. The finish is tight and floral,


https://shop.rootsrundeep.com/Buy-Our-Wines#higher-education https://shop.rootsrundeep.com/Buy-Our-Wines#higher-education https://shop.rootsrundeep.com/Buy-Our-Wines#higher-education

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 7
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 8
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 9
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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