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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
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.
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.
Mt Monster Cabernet Sauvignon is 100 percent Cabernet
Winemaking: Our Cabernet is fermeneted in static fermenters at controlled temperatures to retain the varietal aromatics. Once complete the wine is left for 7-1- days on skins to aide in the extraction of soft fleshy tannins and build wine structure. French and American oak has been used sparingly to ensure maximum fruit expression is retained in the final wine.
Tasting notes: Deep purple in colour. Classic aromas of lifted blackcurrant, blackberry and mint on the nose. Flavours follow through of sweet berry-fruit accented by fresh muddled mint. Elegant, structured palate with big velvety tannins.
Pure, powerful and polished, the Wall Road shows immense aromas of black currant, blueberry, blackberry preserves and hints of sweet dark herbs. The palate is fully developed and well-structured with firm yet ripe tannins and layers of dried red fruits and currants. There is a forest and sweet herb quality that hints at the signature terroir of this Mountain gem. The finish is long and lingering and lifts the layers of fruit on the palate perfectly.
Vintage Notes – An unseasonably warm start to 2015 brought early bud break and bloom for Napa Valley. Vines began to show fatigue as they entered their fourth year of drought, resulting in lower crop yields than years prior. Unexpected heat meant an early harvest for the valley, one of the earliest on record. Ripened fruit proved to be of tremendous quality, while Cabernets are deep and decadent in color with great balance in tannin.
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 some very serious stuff. Aromas of tar, vanilla and cloves. But the fruit is delicious with notes of boysenberries, blackcurrants, oranges, lavender, herbs and baking spices. The palate's rich and warming but also calm and composed. Layers of blue fruit, ripe yet integrated tannins, a fine line of acidity and a long finish. The broader style remains so elegant. Drink in 2022."
- James Suckling (May 2018), 95 pts
Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
20 months in French oak (only about a third of that is new oak) and for 20 more months in bottle before release
Our winemaking "style" is solely determined by this place or terrior we call "Paradigm." Winemaking is agriculture when you own your vineyards and are able to farm them to promote the very best Earth will give you. All of our selections of wines are made from five varietals on the estate. Every wine is 100% farmed and grown by us.
Complexity in our wines supported by luscious fruit and acidity is our hallmark. Our efforts during harvest and barrel cellaring concentrate on maintaining the freshness from the first day we handpicked each vineyard block. Simple winemaking protocols are employed while crucial “timing” oriented winemaking decisions rule each day.
The 2015 vintage produced delicious concentrated wines in smaller quantity than normal. This black raspberry colored Cabernet has lovely open aromatics of black cherry, berry, and plum layered with a perfect balance of new and used French Oak.
"Owned and managed by the Harris family, Paradigm winery produced its first vintage in 1991 in Oakville with winemaker Heidi Barrett. A self-contained winery estate with 50 acres of vineyards, Paradigm maintains a hands-on approach to all winemaking and vineyard operations. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon consists of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and is aged in both new and used French oak for 20 months, then aged a further 20 months in bottle before release. The total production for this vintage was 5,544 bottles." Blind tasted by Dave Allen, Stephen Brook, Terry Kandylis (at Decanter Magazine's December 2019 Californian Cabernet 2015 Panel Tasting, London, 17 Sep 2019) - Decanter 95 Points
"The flagship is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon mostly from Champoux with the balance from Palengat and Wallula vineyards. Crème de cassis, graphite, black licorice, unsmoked tobacco, and hints of chocolate and emerge from this beauty and it continues to gain depth and nuance with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, and layered with an incredible purity and elegance on the palate, it's already accessible but has more than enough tannin, depth, and balance to evolve for two decades or more."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 99 pts
Keermont Estate Reserve Red Blend is made from 36% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 6% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot
The Keermont Estate Reserve is the winery's flagship red blend. With this blend they aim to bring to life the nuances of both the terroir at Keermont Vineyards and the particular vintage.
Venetian red in color, this wine exudes complex aromas of ripe cherry, wild berries, and dusty 'fynbos'. The palate has an array of ripe berries, cherry sherbet, crushed herbs and spices. Elegant but firm tannin affords the wine a long dry succulent finish.
All grapes are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Most of the vineyard parcels grow on deep red clay rich soil derived from sandstone and granite and are surrounded by indigenous vegetation. They lie between 250 and 400 meters above sea level in the valley between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountain ranges and have a variety of aspects from North East to West facing.
Small batches of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. This process is carried out gently and naturally in open top fermenters using traditional methods only. This wine spent 22 months maturing in French oak barrels (20% new) before being bottled by hand without filtration
"This 2013 Estate Reserve was previously known as just "Keermont" since the estate wanted to keep the wine before release. A lot of fruit was lost to wind during flowering, ergo there is a little more Cabernet in the blend. The wine spent 22 months maturing in French oak barrels (20% new) before being bottled by hand without filtration on December 22, 2014. It has a precise, detailed bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, cold stone and just a touch of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp acidity and quite strict tannin, grippy in the mouth, yet very elegant, presenting a lingering, almost Saint-Julien-like finish. Give this another year in bottle and you will have a very fine wine in your possession. - Neal Martin"
- Vinous (August 29th 2018), 92 pts
"This is Keermont’s flagship wine, the first wine made under the label in 2007. It sees 2 years in oak and is kept in bottle another 2 years before release. Richly aromatic with spice and fynbos/herbal notes. Fabulous, layered texture of rich, dense dark red fruit seamlessly integrated with toasted oak. A blend of 36% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Fanc, 10% Malbec, 6% Syrah and 4% Petit Verdot. 14.5% alc. Alex has been gradually increasing the percent of Cabernet Franc in this wine over time."
- International Wine Review (January 2019), 92 pts
Force Majeure Parvata is made from 69% Mourvedre, 21% Syrah, 10% Grenache (2016) / 43% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 4% Cinsault, 5% Counoise
Parvata means “mountain” in sanskrit, and is the name for this southern Rhône-inspired blend, grown mostly in the sandy, loamy soils of the lower section of the Red Mountain vineyard, which bring to the wine a good degree of finesse and high-toned aromatic notes, white pepper, dried herbs and grapefruit peel.
"Bright ruby-red. Lovely verve to the aromas of blackberry, blueberry, licorice and sexy oak. Densely packed and fresh, with its flavors of crushed blackberry, bitter chocolate, licorice and exotic Asian spices showing much more grip than the 2015 bottling. Still a bit youthfully rigid today and in need of a year or two of patience. My second bottle showed similar aromas and flavors but was richer, broader and more pliant, finishing with ripe, fine-grained tannins and building length. (14.8% alcohol; aged in 25% new French oak, mostly 400- and 500-liter barrels; 3.89 pH) - Stephen Tanzer" - Antonio Galloni's Vinous (December 2019), 92 pts