A superstar of the vintage. Beautiful notes of graphite, mulberries, blueberries and blackberries jump from the glass of this dense purple-colored 2012. Its full-bodied opulence, luscious texture, 45+-second finish,
Cakebread Cellars in Rutherford, Napa Valley, was founded in 1973 by Jack Cakebread, a professional photographer who came to Napa Valley on an assignment and fell in love with the place. He and his wife Dolores bought a 22-acre vineyard and had their first vintage in 1973. It was a Chardonnay sold out of a small shop in Yountville. Today the winery is still owned by the Cakebread family, though it has increased to 77 acres. The estate is still known for excellent Chardonnays, though they now also produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The winemaker at Cakebread is Julianne Laks. Signature Cabs include Vine Hill Ranch and Dancing Bear Cabernet Sauvignons.
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.