Early to bud and early to ripen, the 2014 vintage was our third drought year in a row. Dry, even temperatures marched the grapes along at a steady clip all year and created a wine with beautifully integrated fruit, acidity, and tannin.
Dense and dark magenta in color, this is a lithe and energetic vintage with lifted aromatics and a purity of fruit that lights up the medium-bodied tannin structure. The nose promises fresh black fruits, cherries and a touch of graphite, and the palate completely delivers. Juicy blackberry, plum, and bright cherry explode in the mouth, and develop into savory notes of baked black fruit and fresh pencil shavings on the mid-palate.
Eagle Summit Vineyard’s signature eucalyptus appears on the back palate to brighten the fruit, showing fragrant peppermint and warm, toasty spices through the finish. Whether you open it young or wait a few decades, this vintage does Howell Mountain proud--sophisticated and smart, with a rustic wild side.
Cresta Velia Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Aged in 100% French oak (86% new)
• 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Eagle Summit Vineyard on Howell Mountain
• Equal amounts of clone 4 and clone 7
• unfined and unfiltered
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet aged 20 months in 86% new French oak, with the typical suspects in terms of cooperage – Darnajou, Taransaud, and Remond. This opaque purple-colored wine has plenty of mulberry and blackcurrant fruit along with hints of blackberries, camphor and incense. The are some notes of unsmoked cigar and licorice as well. Ripe, medium to full-bodied and luscious, it is a classic to drink over the next 15 or more years. - RP"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #228, December 2016), 90 pts
2015 is another extraordinary vintage that fully expresses classic Cabernet style from this famed, high elevation site. Packed with complex aromas of ripe blackberries, cocoa along with some delicate minerality, it just begs for another swirl. As this wine opens up, aromas of plum, ripe blackberry, cassis and crushed rock can be found. Complex on the palate, ripe concentrated fruit leads the way, evolving into mocha, cedar, leather and spice, all wrapped in a subtle layer of sweet toasty oak. Bold and extracted, elegant and refined, this seductive wine delivers everything we love about Howell Mountain Cabernet. Enjoy now or lay a few bottles down for a few more years.
Hightower Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain is made from 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot.
As Hightower Cellars' signature wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Red Mountain wine – bold and full of the flavors that make this region so special. As much as possible, Tim and Kelly Hightower take a non-interventionist approach to winemaking. They place great emphasis on vineyard selection, picking, pressing, and blending so that Hightower wines are naturally beautiful and free from pretense. They let the powerful and concentrated fruit from Red Mountain speak for itself. The result is a collection of well-balanced, nuanced wines that reveal something new and interesting each time you open a bottle.
Aromas of tart blueberry and lush red cherry dominate the nose, while firm tannins and full body lend structure to this inky, pigmented wine. The palate features notes of dark fruit, fresh cut wood, and dried tobacco. This wine is an excellent candidate for decanting, as the aromas evolve wonderfully over time to express softer, lush fruit and hints of herbs and spices.
Red Mountain AVA 100% (Hightower Estate Vineyard 56%, E&E Shaw Vineyard 44%)
New Oak 71%, Neutral Oak 29% (American 67%, French 11%, European 11%, Hungarian 11%)
Un-fined and un-filtered
Pairs with grilled red meat, fig and olive tapenade, bacon wrapped dates.
"Aromas of exotic spice, Craisins, dried thyme, black currant, vanilla and black licorice are out front. Fruit and barrel play off each other nicely on an elegant, cranberry-filled palate. It has a pleasing mouthwatering sense to it. - SEAN P. SULLIVAN" - Wine Enthusiast (January 2020), 90 pts
Alain Jaume Gigondas Terrasses de Montmirail is made from 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah.
Deep red garnet color. Aromas of ripe and black fruits. On the palate the wine is rich, powerful and harmonious - well balanced with wild berry and pepper dominating.
Located in and around the famous area called “Dentelles de Montmirail”, the landscape typicity is made by a rocky bar (between 100 and 600 meters high). Soils are made of clay and sand with limestone. The “Dentelles” appeared thanks to the pressure between the Pyrenees and Alps mountains. This is a land of predilection to produce both powerful and fresh wines. Nights are cooler and the grapes ripeness usually comes in late September.
Winemaking & aging
Traditional wine-making in stainless and concrete vats. Crushed and destemmed grapes. Average of 18 days of vatting with pigeages. Ageing in vats mostly and oak barrels. Bottling after 12 – 14 months.
"Based on 65% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre and Syrah, the 2017 Gigondas Terrasses De Montmirail is an impressive wine from the Jaume family and has classic ripe cherry and black raspberry fruit as well as notes of white flowers, graphite, and garrigue. Medium to full-bodied, balanced, with sweet tannins, drink it over the coming decade." - Jeb Dunnuck (September 2019, Southern Rhône Part 2: 2017 & 2018 from Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Cairanne, and Rasteau), 91 pts
The full-bodied, rich and velvety 2017 Gigondas Terrasses de Montmirail is another winner from the talented Jaume family. Hints of lavender and garrigue add intrigue to ripe black cherries and stone fruit. While approachable now with a bit of air, it has enough stuffing to cellar for a decade or so. - Wine Advocate 91 Points
Betz Family Besoleil is made from 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 11% Syrah and the rest Cinsault,
Grenache speaks loudly in the Bésoleil with notes of pomegranate, red raspberry, and strawberry leaf. The Counoise and Cinsualt bring bing cherry fruit and blueberry notes to the table, complicated by pepper and garrique. Mourvedre donates a wild meatiness to the blend, and a purple hue. Syrah rounds things out, adding texture, and flesh to the palate.
"Attractively complex aromas of cherries, kirsch, white pepper, spice, potpourri and licorice, it's medium to full-bodied, sappy and succulent, with velvety structuring tannins and bright acids." 94 pts - Robert Parkers Wine Advocate
"Bright raspberry and red-plum fruits with attractive depth and freshness. This has all you want in a Rhône-style blend. Good depth of flavor and focused structure." 93 pts - James Suckling
"Moving more and more from Olsen Vineyard, which is 20 miles northwest of Red Mountain (where they love working with the grower, who is proactive and responsive), the medium ruby/purple-colored 2016 Besoleil is 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 11% Syrah and the rest Cinsault, all aged in a mix of neutral barrels. It offers beautiful notes of red plums, blueberries, white and black pepper and herbs de Provence, medium to full-bodied richness, a silky, elegant style, and integrated acidity. It's another beautiful vintage of this wine that will keep for a decade." 92 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck
Betz Family Clos de Betz is 67 % Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot
"The only other 2013 reviewed on this go around (most were reviewed last year), the 2013 Clos de Betz checks in as a blend of 63% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Petit Verdot, mostly from Red Mountain and Yakima Valley, that spent 19 months in French oak. Sexy, supple, perfumed and beautifully complex, with notes of currants, dried flowers and an almost garrigue like perfume, this full-bodied beauty is already impossible to resist, yet will absolutely cruise for another 10-15 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 94 pts
Wild Blackberry Cider.
A blend of Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious and Ginger Gold, this cider is hopped with Cascade hops and has a delicious blackberry flavor.
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
Clos Solene Harmonie is made from Paso Robles 67% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah
Composed of 5 of the best vineyards on the west side of Paso Robles with mainly limestone and shale terroirs, brought elegance and pureness to this vintage. Aged for 16 months in larger used barrels, it delivers, on the nose, an incredible bouquet, and on the palate, notes of strawberries followed by some silkiness texture with delicate tannins and a great acidity.
Aged 16 months in mostly used puncheons 400-liter barrels (15% new)
Pairs with roasted pork. Eggplant parmesan, filet mignon
"The 2017 Harmonie (67% Grenache, 18% Mourvèdre, and 15% Syrah) is beautiful and certainly makes the most of the vintage. Black cherries, red currants, cedary spice, dried herbs, and floral notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied blend that has flawless balance, ultra-fine tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It can be drunk today or cellared for over a decade."
- Jeb DUNNUCK (October 31st 2019), 97 pts