Howell Mountain, Napa Valley
$110 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $99)
Sara and Jonah Beer fell in love with the Napa Valley over two decades ago. And, much to the dismay of the cynical, they haven’t gotten jaded. They find inspiration in the valley’s past and the wines made by the icons of the 50s, 60s, and 70s like Lee Stewart, Nathan Fay, Bob Travers, Bob Sessions, Al Brounstein, and so many more.
Pilcrow was created in 2014 and it quickly became clear that this was destined to be more than mere wine. Pilcrow became a promise to celebrate the humanity of craftsmanship. To treasure the past, take things slowly, be a little analog. It is through Pilcrow that they demonstrate their love of quiet wines that value grace and thoughtfulness and that amplify terroir. It is through Pilcrow that they ply the fine-wine ambition and make the clear expression of terroir an absolute and ideal. By looking for, caring for, and safeguarding the differentiating characteristics of each vineyard they stay alert, as vintners, to the exceptional possibilities of each wine.
The 2018 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from Granite Lake, Howell Mountain. Granite Lake does not just reside in the Howell Mountain AVA, it is on the ridgeline of the mountain itself. The soils are dusty, red, rich in iron and volcanic debris deposited during the valley’s turbulent, secondary eruptions. Combining this low-vigor soil, 10% slope, and 2,097 feet of elevation gives you a darn good recipe for a classically-styled Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine reflects this terroir construct with approachable but firm tannins paired with a low pH and savory acidity. Sitting above the fog line adds a sense of warm, red fruits (think: raspberry, strawberry, and plum) that is balanced with a sense of charcoal, red rose, rainwater-minerality, and herb.
This classic Howell Mountain beauty deserves a great meal which is why I would suggest short ribs braised with mushrooms and tomatoes. The earthy porcini mushrooms in a rich beef broth featuring a couple Cab-loving herbs, rosemary and bay leaf, is the perfect pair for a good Cab. Truthfully, rosemary makes almost any dish more red wine friendly, and Cabernet just loves it.
Jennie Kaplan Woodson – May 2021