Inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, leather, licorice and lavender all open in the glass... The 2017 is not a powerhouse, but it still packs plenty of Howell Mountain character and has tons of personality. I loved it.
Rudius in Napa was started in 2005 by Jeff Ames. Ames had been part of the winemaking teams at Schrader, Maybach, Outpost and Tor before starting his own label. Brittany Savory Ames, whose background is in sales and finance, joined Rudius in 2008. Grapes are sourced from throughout Napa and Sonoma. Rudius produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah, Chardonnay and Rhone blends. Ames’ wines, at Rudius and elsewhere, earn ratings in the high 90s and compliments from reviews, including California wine reviewer James Laube, who listed Ames as one of ten California winemakers who in 2012 made outstanding wines.
Howell Mountain AVA in Northeastern Napa Valley was the first of Napa Valley’s sub-appellations, earning its own designation in 1984, just a year after Napa Valley became an appellation. As the name suggests, the AVA is in one of the highest elevations in the area. Every vineyard in the appellation is at least 1,400 feet above sea level. Some vineyards are as high as 2,200 feet and because of their altitude most of the AVA’s vineyards receive more sun than vineyards at lower elevations, which are affected by fog from the Pacific Ocean and the San Pablo Bay. Howell Mountain was home to vineyards in the late 19th century, but winemaker Randy Dunn is considered the area’s most influential modern pioneer. Dunn moved to Howell Mountain in 1979, acquired property and began making exceptionally rich Cabernet Sauvignon. The AVA also grows Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There are 600 vineyard acres within Howell Mountain AVA.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.