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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Above the fog, Villa Hermosa 2005 Howell Mountain Cabernet

The beautiful and inspiring Howell Mountain Appellation located east of St. Helena in California's wonderful wine-making mecca called Napa Valley, is a wonderful place which is producing some fantastic Mountain fruit and the resulting 100% Cabernet Sauvignons are fantastic.

I've been to a few of the tastings at the marvelously appointed Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, where if you haven't been before it's a must for every adventurous oenophile on the days they have their tastings in the museum, not only can you taste some of the very best Cabernet Sauvignon being made in Napa, but as a bonus you can see one of best collection of vintage cars and some which were used in iconic movies. A two for one kind of event, now that's what I'm talking about.

While never having directly visited the wineries of this AVA myself, I've taken the time to learn that just above the fog in Napa Valley lies some of the best vineyards in Napa, one taste and you too will be convinced of what I'm trying to tell you. After meeting the folks from Villa Hermosa and tasting their wines, I've put it on my well worn and dog-eared map of "wine-destinations" which I must visit. What many would call their "bucket-list", and boy is my bucket is spilling over with must-see wine destinations like the over-flowing spit bucket Miles in the movie "Sideways" drinks during his meltdown at “Frass Canyon” [aka, Fess Parker] in the Los Olivos area.


Hopefully the next time I'm in the Napa area I want to make an effort to visit and meet the folks who call Howell Mountain home, like the wonderful owners of Villa Hermosa Cherie and Art Goulard who have crafted a brilliant representation of the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Swirl: A beautiful deep garnet core, displaying freshness and fading to lighter colored rim.

Sniff: In the nose it exhibits ripe, vivid blackberry, wild plum and black cherry fruit, yet showing some maturity with mocha nuances.

Slurp or Sip: What I would call a complex, faint leathery notes in this full-bodied, intensely flavored, decadent display of dark fruits melding with lithe minerality, appropriate tannins and very persistent display of fruit and sense of place which is long and lingering.

Vineyards and Aging: A total of 21 months in 100% French Oak, with the vines grown in the rich, volcanic soil, on a south-facing hillside 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley.

Fruit: 100% Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon picked from three dfferent blocks and the alcohol is barely noticeable at 13.3 percent.


Wine Makers Notes: On the nose, this vintage has lush aromas of blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry preserves, and lilac with faint notes of juniper, white pepper, and truffle oil. The mouth opens with a warm velvety entry with lush berry and stone fruits. The full weight mid-palate leads to a lengthy, fruit finish.

Other voices: So okay, okay I know my opinion about this wine may not be enough to sway you to slap down nearly a Benjamin per bottle, so I will let someone with a little more credibility give her opinion to bolster what I've been trying to say, so this is what she had to say about Villa Hermosa and their wonderful Howell Mountain wine, ...new faces that aim for the gold ring and could be the next cult wine...— Mary Ann Worobiec, Wine Spectator Magazine

My Recommendation: This wine is very approachable now and will improve with age, since only 330 cases were produced, availability is limited and even though selling for $75.00 each a wine of this caliber won't last long. I was very impressed with the efforts. This is an excellent wine worthy of a 94 point score. So run, don't walk to their website to order yours today.


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