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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
Winemaker and founder John Giannini named Cresta Velia for his mother and grandmother - combining his mother’s maiden name (Cresta) with his grandmother’s first name (Velia). Cresta Velia’s inaugural vintage was the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and now also includes a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir label.
Cresta Velia’s Cabernet Sauvignon hails from Eagle Summit, a beautifully farmed hillside vineyard on Howell Mountain, overlooking Napa Valley. Thin soils underpinned by volcanic bedrock force the vines to delve deep in search of water and nutrients, producing wines with an ineffable sense of place.
John Giannini founded Cresta Velia in 2006. John grew up in an extended Italian family – wine was always served with food. He considers both to be inseparable from one another. He comes to Napa from a restaurant background – first working at Scallas Bistro in San Francisco. He was introduced to Napa wines by a server at Scalla’s who would often visit the valley. John would accompany him on these day trips; his appreciation for wine grew. Eventually he moved to Napa and worked at Terra Restaurant.
For winemaker, John Giannini, delicious wine and good food are the essential components of a life well lived. Hailing from San Francisco, two things were pivotal for John growing up; coming from a large Italian family and having parents who liked to go out to dinner. John’s family was no different than other typical Italian families for whom good food was paramount, wine was always on the table, and one or more members of the family dabbled in winemaking (John’s Grandfather). John and his siblings always got the requisite sip of wine on special occasions and grew up understanding that good food and wine go together. Equally as formative was that John’s parents took John out to dinner a lot when he was growing up. A lot. John was encouraged to order off of the full “adult” menu and was exposed to flavors and food combinations at a young age that most people do not experience until they are adults.
John’s first restaurant job was as a server at a local restaurant in San Francisco while he was in college. However, it became immediately clear to him that he was not a front of the house guy and that he belonged in the kitchen; and if you know John you know that sounds about right. A year or two later, he bought a paring knife and a chef’s knife when he was hired, with next to no experience, to work in the kitchen at Kuleto’s in Burlingame, CA. He was hooked from the start, not only on the energy of the kitchen but on learning to create food. From there John spent fifteen years as an accomplished chef in restaurants on the West Coast, including Chef Hiro Sone’s Terra Restaurant in Napa. He was on the trajectory to becoming Chef de Cuisine with plans to eventually open his own restaurant until he worked his first harvest in 2003.
Like so many people who end up working in the wine industry, one can look back on a chance encounter or conversation that set the wheels of fate in motion. John met Thomas Brown through mutual friends while playing volleyball and it was Thomas who gave John his first job during harvest in the Napa Valley in 2003. Everything about the harvest season was exciting and compelling and created a lasting impression however, John was still not quite sure that he was willing to give up on his first passion. Moving to Portland, OR in 2004 to help open a friend’s restaurant was to be his last foray in the restaurant business and by the time harvest of 2005 rolled around, John moved back to stay. He worked that harvest, and every harvest since, making a promise to not miss another harvest again. And he hasn’t.
In 2006, John became the Cellar Master at Outpost Winery in Angwin and in 2007 he took over as the Assistant Winemaker under Thomas.
Since then, John has helped craft many of the 100 point wines that have come out of Outpost winemaking facility. And while he continues to be the Assistant Winemaker at Outpost, the next logical step was to become a winemaker in his own right; and so Cresta Velia was born.
Eagle Summit Vineyard
Eagle Summit, which sits high atop Howell Mountain at an elevation just under 2000 feet, is a gently sloping site with iron rich red soil and well draining volcanic rock which contribute to the formation of small intensely flavored berries that create wines of distinction with an undeniable sense of place.
Bohemian Vineyard Green Valley
Our Cresta Velia Pinot Noir is crafted with clones 115 and 667 from the Bohemian Vineyard Green Valley just outside the town of Occidental. Residing in the western region of the Russian River Valley the site receives the cooling benefit of the coastal influence and slightly less heat than the middle of the Valley allowing full maturity while retaining freshness.
Cresta Velia Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt. is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
Here we go again. It seems as though I’m saying the same thing year after year. Another excellent vintage from Howell Mountain. And once again it’s true. The wine shows deep purple color concentration with both sweet and savory aromatics on the nose. Blackberries, currants, freshly turned soil and black licorice attack your nostrils from the glass. Rich, broad and full bodied as this wine is the vineyard once again provides the balancing influence of acidity and tannin and helps usher in the finishing notes of roasted meats, cigar box, fennel and more black and blue fruit. If 2012 and 2013 Cresta Velia had a baby it would be the 2015. Incredible concentration from the 2013 with generous portions of fruit from 2012. And although you are not supposed to have a favorite child, if I had to choose I think it would be 2015...until we release the 2016.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Eagle Summit Vineyard on Howell Mountain
Equal amounts of clone 4 and clone 7
100% percent french oak 73% new 27% used
unfined and unfiltered
Charles Krug Family Reserve Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
Rising 1,650 feet above the Napa Valley floor on the southwestside of Howell Mountain, the Family Reserve Howell MountainCabernet Sauvignon sits above the fog line. The distinctiveclimate, along with volcanic and iron-rich red soils, producefruit with great balance and intensity.
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release Cold Springs is the most distinctive of the wines in this range of limited-release Cabernets from Charles Krug. Gravel, licorice, menthol and spice all develop in a Howell Mountain Cabernet endowed with tremendous class and nuance.
-Vinous 92 Points
Tomahawk Vineyard is the pinnacle of the Chimney Rock estate. Comprised of a small group of vines which were planted in 2002, Tomahawk consistently produces intense, massively complex fruit. The ensuing wines are truly world-class, compelling, powerful and elegant with a remarkably lengthy finish.
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk Vineyard offers a darker fruited, meaty, masculine and mineral-driven style. Coming from a site in Stags Leap, and aged in 80% new French oak, it's medium to full-bodied and nicely textured on the palate, with solid balance, good ripeness, lots of tannins, and a good finish. Forget bottles for 4-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades.
-Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
Principal El Principal Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Syrah originating from old, ungrafted vines. Deep, intense ruby red, black fruit and cassis aromas, well-integrated woody notes, great structure and balance. Ripe and present tannins, elegant and sophisticated in the mouth, a pure expression of the terroir.
Denomination of Origin: Maipo Andes Valley
Vineyard altitude: 800 meters above sea level
Soil: Alluvial origin, Clay loam.
Climate: Sub humid Mediterranean with big influence of the Andes Mountains.
Thermal oscillation: Between 18º and 22ºC.
Viticulture system: Espalier
Pruning: Double Guyot
Yield 4.500 kg/ha
Cool maceration (8°C): 6 days.
Alcoholic fermentation: 6 days.
Post fermentative maceration: 16 days.
Barrel aging: 20 months, new French oak
Bottling: February 2016
Bottle aging: Minimum 2 year in the bottle before release to the market.
Total Acidity: 5.9 g/L
RS: 2 g/L
- Descorchados (November 2017), 95 pts
"This complex cuvée of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Syrah from some of the highest vineyards in Pirque is built to age in bottle. Aged in 75) new wood, it’s serious, concentrated yet beautifully balanced, with very fine tannins, some aromatic mocha oak, layers of dark fruit and a backbone of acidity. 2022-30"
- Tim Atkin (Chile 2018 Special Report), 94 pts
Force Majeure Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
The estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown primarily along the southwest ridge of the vineyard. The vines produce small berries with bountiful flavor, concentration and intensity, but also a good degree of finesse, excellent structure and layers of complexity that will continue to develop during extended bottle aging for those who want to cellar and age their wines. The wine is powerful, elegant, full-bodied.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered.100% free run
Pumpovers and punch-downs, up to 45 day macerations
Native yeast, 5 day cold soaks
22 months in 75% new French oak barrels
Fermented in concrete and stainless closed top tanks.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Estate is much more dense, tannic, backward wine compared to the Walla Walla Estate release. Its deep purple/plum color is followed by a masculine bouquet of crushed rocks, tobacco, iodine, and lead pencil. This carries to a full-bodied Red Mountain Cabernet with gorgeous overall balance, ripe yet building tannins, an undeniable sense of minerality, and a blockbuster finish. Possessing a liquid rock-like minerality (it seems to have been filtered through a bed of rocks), it's mostly educational at this young age and deserves 4-5 years of bottle age. It should keep for 2-3 decades in cold cellars.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
The Cabernet Sauvignon Casey’s Lakeview is similarly inky bluish/purple to the rim. Tasting like blood, this wine is dense and rich with lots of chocolate, espresso, earth and spice. It is deep, full-bodied, and again, a masculine style of wine that needs at least 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep for 25 or more years.
Lakeview Vineyard is the winery’s mid-block vineyard planted to a combination of clone 6 & 337 Cabernet Sauvignon on 101-14 rootstock. Excellent drainage from the rocky and chalky soils plus plenty of sunlight throughout the day produces wines of bold character with mouth filling flavors.
Organic farming methods are used to produce this Cabernet Sauvignon Casey's Lakeview vineyard. Vines are 17 years old. Ageing in French oak barrels (85% new) for 20 months, then 12 months in bottle prior to release. Non-filtered.
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Casey's Lakeview Vineyard is the most overt of these wines. Superripe black cherry, plum, chocolate and licorice add to an impression of flamboyance that sits on the edge of being too much. The effects of the drought are felt in the wine's slightly roasted profile. - Antonio Galloni"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2016), 91 pts
Michel Rolland, Pomerol vintner and consultant to many of the world's top wineries, teamed with Washington State wine visionary Allen Shoup to produce this limited release wine.
With its intense color and inviting aromas of dark berries, licorice, baking spice and a hint of smoke, the Pedestal is a bold wine that leaves a lasting impression. Dark fruit flavors integrated with sweetness from the barrel and richness from the tannins come together seamlessly, lingering across a structured mid-palate and lengthy finish.
Winemaking: Hand-harvested grapes were double-sorted to remove green material that might impart harsh tannins, then most of the lots were cold soaked to build richness and flavor before undergoing whole-berry fermentation in 55L upright French wood tanks. This, combined with gentle pump-overs throughout fermentation, enhanced the wine’s color, texture and mouthfeel. The finished wine was aged 22 months in 85% new French oak barrels.
"The 2015 Pedestal Merlot from Long Shadows is a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Petit Verdot aged 22 months in 85% new French oak barrels. Crème de cassis, wood smoke, scorched earth, and graphite characteristics all emerge from this rich, full-bodied, voluptuous beauty that has more mid-palate depth and richness than any other Merlot made in the state. With ample tannin, it will benefit from a year or three and keep for 15. It's a gorgeous wine."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 96 pts
Number 83 in Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines of 2018
MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay always delivers something special and unique, and this vintage is no exception. Both intricate and exotic, this wine begins with alluring fruit aromas of Meyer lemon and fresh pineapple. On the palate, a round, rich mouthfeel accentuates Wildcat’s signature high-tone notes of honey and spice. At the same time, thanks to Wildcat’s windy growing conditions, which thicken the grape skins, it has engaging structure and body.
Brought up in 24% new French oak, the 2018 Chardonnay Wildcat Mountain is another terrific effort. White flowers, toasted spice, peach, and honeysuckle notes all dominate the nose, and it's fresh and lively, yet also textured and lengthy on the palate.
-Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
The 2018 Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Chardonnay has leesy Bosc pears and white peaches with notes of gunflint and honey-nut notions. It's light to medium-bodied with a good core of peachy fruit, bright freshness and a long, clean finish.
-Wine Advocate 91 Points