Capturing the bold personality of a vineyard high up on the Howell Mountain plateau, this very limited bottling of 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and powerful, revealing deep, highly extracted blackberry, cassis and plum character. Its saturated color and complex nuances of baking chocolate, earthy forest-loam, dried rose petal, bay laurel, and espresso reveal its sourcing of vines rooted in iron-laden, red volcanic loam soil. The muscular tannins are dynamic and chewy, and amply support the expansive flavors through the persistent finish.
We sourced 90 percent of the grapes from a small Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard planted to several different clones in 1994 on the Howell Mountain plateau. Here, at 1,700 feet, the vines begin spring budbreak later because of cooler temperatures, but the grapes have longer hours of solar radiation—being above the fog-line—for ripening. Howell Mountain—part of the volcanic Vaca Range on the northeastern side of Napa Valley—has such unique soils and mesoclimates that it was designated the first official sub-appellation of Napa Valley in 1983.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated berries and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall up from low to adequate, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak and accelerated grape maturation.
Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24; Provenance was fortunate to come through unscathed. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s “ripened-to-perfection” grapes.
Bottled without fining.
The hand-harvested grapes were lightly crushed and then the must was cold soaked for gentle extraction before fermentation began. A portion of the wine was entirely fermented in small French oak barrels for enhanced integration of oak character, with the balance in stainless-steel tanks. To soften tannins, we allowed the wine to ferment slightly warmer (90 degrees Fahrenheit) than usual.
Four rackings naturally clarified the wine.