Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2009


If you're in the market for a really gigantic, huge, enormous Napa Valley red wine, Cornerstone Cellars has it covered.  The Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2009 is a wine for people who like 'em big.

Grapes from Ink Grade Vineyard, on the eastern side of Howell Mountain are the main contents here.  These vines have limited root growth, resulting in small grapes with concentrated flavor.  Some Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon was also used, as well as a 5% splash of Carneros Merlot.

The 2009 growing season in Napa Valley is described in the winemaker notes as “mild, blissfully uneventful.”  Mid-October, however, brought some very heavy rainfall.  That did not upset the fruit for this wine, though.  If anything, it just made it mad.

This wine carries a hafty 14.9% abv number and retails for $80 per bottle.  The winemaker asserts that this Cab should age well for 20 years, according to the notes on the vintage.  If wine ratings mean anything to you, Robert Parker stamped a 91 on it.

The wine is inky black with a nose to match.  The plummy aromas are as dark as the night and just as intense.  The wood effect is simply beautiful - the 22 months the wine spent in French oak left its elegant, smoky mark.  A hint of tar weaves in and out of each whiff.  The palate is dark and supple, with big fruit and lovely spices that go on for days.  The wine has the tannic structure to handle heavy beef and a finish that just won't go away.  The masculine brawn displayed here is impressive, maybe even showy.  Please, please, have this with the biggest, meanest piece of beef you can find.  Cornerstone's Craig Camp tells me there's nothing better for a young Howell Mountain wine.

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