2005 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1041225

92 points and a 'Cellar Selection' designation from Wine Enthusiast: "Craig's Howell Mountain Cab typically is powerful and ripe, with bigtime tannins that require aging. The 2005 is such a wine. Made with a drop of Merlot, it shows black cherry and cassis fruit accented with lots of toasty new oak. But it's really young, stinging on the palate with astringency. Should negotiate the next 10 years with ease." (12/08) From Robert Parker: "The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain exhibits scents of red and blackberry fruit along with hints of roasted herbs, crushed rocks, and spice. Medium to full-bodied, moderately tannic, and slightly austere, it should drink easily for 12-15+ years. Consistently well made wines emerge from Robert Craig." (12/08) Robert Craig's Howell Mountain vineyard is located high along the ridgeline at 2,300 feet and is blessed with the well-drained, thin, rocky volcanic soils that cabernet sauvignon loves to hate. The result? Vines that struggle to produce the small, concentrated berries that explode with blackberry aromas and flavors when crafted into wine. The 2005 has a subtle perfume of violets, vanilla and white pepper to complement the fruit and flavors of fresh-brewed coffee, licorice and clove on the palate. Focused, supple and elegant, this wine needs decanting now and will reward those disciplined enough to cellar it.

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Price: $79.99

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.