2008 Hundred Acre "Ark Vineyard" Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright red-ruby. Sexy aromas of raspberry, redcurrant, mocha, toffee, spices, smoke and minerals. Plush on entry, then thick in the middle but with surprising acidity framing and lifting the smooth red fruit and toffee flavors. Boasts compelling breadth and palate presence. Wonderfully fine-grained, extract-rich cabernet with an unflagging finish. Like a liquid confection but with plenty of supporting structure for long aging.
Deserves its high score by virtue of power and sheer flamboyant dazzle. Packed with ripe, sweet cherries and milk chocolate, with a decadently meaty taste, like beef tartare. Oak plays the usual role, adding a caramelly, buttered toast richness. The tannins are brilliant, so soft and sweet, they’re like candy. Drink this flashy wine over the next six years.
Beautifully done in an ultraripe style. Gushing, with a jammy berry pie mix of wild berry, blackberry and raspberry flavors that are complex and supple. Full-bodied, gaining depth and richness on the long, persistent, tapered finish, which echoes black licorice, loamy earth and spice. Drink now through 2021.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Ark Vineyard, from a vineyard at the base of Howell Mountain, is deep, sensual and powerful. It shows terrific richness in its dark cherries, plums, mocha, licorice and tobacco. This is a totally gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with character. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.
Big, late-harvested, ready-upon-release Napa Cab that, according to Antonio Galloni (writing in the Wine Advocate), nevertheless have very individual character: "Proprietor Jayson Woodbridge makes some of the most unique, deeply personal wines in Napa Valley. Very late harvests and minimal intervention in the cellar, including no rackings until bottling, are just some of the choices that inform these wines. Woodbridge’s vineyards are in St. Helena (Kayli Morgan), the lower part of Howell Mountain (Ark) and Calistoga (Few and Far Between). Woodbridge is less reliant on outside consultants than many of his colleagues, so the wines bear very specific signatures that are unlike those of other wines being made in the Valley. The late harvests give the wines super-ripe fruit that can at times veer towards sweetness, but it is the extreme silkiness and finesse of the tannins that differentiates these wines. Woodbridge believes wines must be ready to go upon release and frowns upon decanting or advance aeration, which he doesn’t think should be necessary. As outstanding as these wines can be upon release, the reality is that the wines have also proven to age exceptionally well."