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“Densely layered and brooding are accurate notes for this vintage of the Kingly Project. Visiting and re-visiting the wine each time seems to reveal new notes and expressions like a colorful tapestry of scents and tastes. The wine is a completely opaque deep purple in the glass.
“Aromatic notes suggest star anise, flint, blackberry paste, and distressed leather. The palate expresses itself with even deeper notes of baker’s dark chocolate, rhubarb, roasted cedar bark, brambly jam, and crushed river rock.
“The mouthfeel of this wine is structured and shows an architectural framework with pronounced and shouldered tannins. With a few hours in the decanter or 3-5 years in the cellar this wine will blossom.”
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Kingly Project is the most intriguing and complete of the three 2015 Cabernets I tasted. Powerful and structured, while also wonderfully nuanced, the Kingly shows once again why it is one of the most compelling wines in Napa Valley. The graphite, crushed rock, licorice, black cherry and menthol notes are all finely etched. I very much admire the explosive energy and nuance here.”
- Antonion Galloni, March 2018, Drinking Window: 2022-2035 96 Points
In 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote “we entered on the grade” at the south corner of what is now our estate vineyard and began his ascent in a horse-drawn wagon up Mount Saint Helena along the Old Toll Road. His memoir is now Napa Valley legend. We named our winery “THE GRADE” to commemorate his stories about Napa Valley and life on this mountain, but also as a way to tell our own story.
“Making the grade” is an expression for achievement and success in life by reaching the highest standard, and it is a fitting metaphor to our approach to winemaking. The GRADE Cellars has produced wines of rare balance, eloquence and complexity from fruit grown on this special site since its first vintage in 2004. Situated in the foothills of that mountain, the vineyard combines its naturally pure groundwater, the terroir of its alluvial sedimentary fans and mesoclimate conditions unique to the upper valley into an ideal Cabernet Sauvignon growing site. As Robert Parker once told us, “Calistoga is all about earthiness.”
The wines are made under the direction of Thomas Rivers Brown who joins us in our patient pursuit of wine poetry. Our shared ambition is attaining the transparency of expression between a single vineyard, even a single block, and each bottle it yields. Thomas has achieved this with our three distinctive Cabernets from Winfield Vineyard. Our collection of wine names are all inspired by passages in the book The Silverado Squatters written by Robert Louis Stevenson during his three-month honeymoon with his bride Fanny in a bunkhouse on the site of Silverado ~ the famous mining town on the mountain’s shoulder above our vineyard.
It’s our quest to show, as Stevenson expressed a century before modern critics, that California’s earth produces the finest Cabernets. We hope all who meet us and taste with us will be inspired to make the grade in their own lives.
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.
“Sporting a deep ruby/purple color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Winfield Vineyard comes from three separate blocks (block 1, 4, and 5) and was raised in 60% new French oak. It’s another layered, ripe, sexy, and seamless wine from winemaker Thomas Brown that boasts loads of blueberry, graphite and white chocolate aromatics, full-bodied, richness, no hard edges, and remarkable purity of fruit. Despite showing great today, I suspect this beauty will be even better with 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15+ years.”
- Jeb Dunnuck, Dec. 2017 96 Points
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
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
Aged in French oak barrels for 8 months in our cellar. Lovely deep red color, with ripe blackberry fruit. The spiciness of the nose is echoed on the palate and combines well with juicy red fruit flavors. Well integrated oak and fine tannins ensures a long and classic finish.
Coming from a sustainable 50-year old plot, grapes are crushed, destemmed and go through pre-fermentative maceration at 11ºC for 24 hours. Alcoholic fermentation in tanks. 4 weeks of maceration with must. Aged in French oak barrels for 8 months, Malolactic fermentation in contact with fine lees.
"A good introduction to Argentine cabernet sauvignon, thanks to its vibrant blueberries and fullish, supple body. The soft tannins have a chocolatey edge and fill out the medium-full body nicely. Drink now."
- James Suckling (March 2019), 90 pts
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
"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
Our Côtes du Rhône Villages is elaborated on the superb Terroir.
The average age of the vines is 34 years; The assembly favors
Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. This complex wine can be kept 8 to 10 years and we
Xavier Vignon Cotes du Rhone Rouge is made from 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah.
Attractive notes of red fruits (raspberries and cherries), peppery herbs, and garrigue all flow to a medium-bodied, elegant.
Pairs with grilled lamb ribs, braised beef, spicy pork chops.
The 2017 Côtes du Rhône Xavier is another elegant and beautifully drinkable wine from Xavier. Attractive notes of red fruits (raspberries and cherries), peppery herbs, and garrigue all flow to a medium-bodied, elegant, oh so drinkable Côtes du Rhône that’s going to put a smile on your face over the coming 3-4 years. -Jeb Dunnuck 89-91 Points