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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.
Marco Capra Langhe Nascetta is made from 100% Nascetta - 15 years old - 1.73 acres
Aged 6 months in stainless steel vats
The name "CONNA" is a sweet nickname after his wife Monica.
Bright straw yellow with greenish hues, with an intense and interesting perfume of grapefruit, apple and aromatic herbs. Floral, fresh, focused, good acidity. Refreshing and bright, full bodied with an aromatic persistence, it is savory and tasty on the palate with a smoothness that enhances the rich character of the wine
Altitude: 400 m above sea level.
Soil composition: lime and sand.
Plant density: 5000 vines / hectare.
Cultivation system: traditional Guyot.
Yield per hectare: 6 tons.
After a short period of maceration on skins, the grapes are soft pressed. The clear must obtained ferments slowly in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 16-17°C. The wine spends a long period of time on the fine lees, with frequent “batonnage”
Ideal with apetizers, shellfish and other fish dishes.
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
Boich Wall Road Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pure dark fruits, plum preserves and dried blueberry notes are knit together with ribbons of crushed mineral and floral undertones, the palate is mouth coating and highlighted by ripe tannins and dense dark fruit and mineral notes. A long finish with wisps of pipe tobacco finish this exotic and expressive mountain Cabernet. Two hundred and twenty cases produced.
Vintage Notes – Marked by California’s ongoing drought, the 2014 vintage was notably early, garnering fruit with intense flavor. While vineyards throughout the valley reported pick dates up to three weeks ahead of schedule, moderate summer temperatures allowed grapes to ripen to perfection with outstanding quality and structure. Aromatic, luscious and fruit-forward, the wines of 2014 are proving ideal.
Wall Road Vineyard – This three-acre gem is located at the northern tip of the Mount Veeder AVA, due west of Oakville and the To Kalon vineyard. True to the Veeder AVA, this site delivers both the power and elegance we strive to achieve in our Mountain Cabernets. The elevation, slope orientation and well-drained soils yield fully ripened small berries with concentrated flavor.
Mount Veeder AVA – Known for its acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon, this illustrious appellation produces graceful, expressive and world-renowned wine. Limited by nature, Mount Veeder’s rugged mountain terrain, high elevation and cooling influence from the San Pablo Bay allows for a long growing season that returns low, sought after yields. This results in powerful fruit with distinct berry flavors.
This is a thick, layered and leathery wine, with ample spice and complexity. Cinnamon, toast, clove, red currant and black cherry tones highlight a full-bodied robust experience of impressive integration and tamed tannins. -Wine Enthusiast 94 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
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
Heritage School Missiaens Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
A steep, rocky site with red volcanic soils results in our most structured and concentrated wine. Planted in 1998 using 110R rootstock and clone 337 Cabernet Sauvignon our Hillside Vineyard produces wines as breathtaking as the views from its slopes. These tiny, dark blue berries ripen near the end of September thanks to cool afternoon temperatures allowing for increased hang time and developed flavors.
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Missiaen's Hillside Vineyard is the darkest and richest of these wines, but it also has enough structural breadth to handle all of that intensity. Superripe plum, bittersweet chocolate, tobacco and licorice all flesh out over time. This is an especially rich, seamless style, yet all the elements are in the right place. - Antonio Galloni"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2016), 92 pts
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
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