Today we have winemaker Tony Arcudi’s expression of an iconic vineyard—the highest-elevation site on Howell Mountain, from which he has captured the dense black fruit, profound minerality, and slightly wild edge that characterizes wines from this exceptional site. Tony has many years experience in winemaking. Having worked with Chapoutier in France and Heidi Barret in Napa, he has quickly become legendary with multiple 100-point scores.
The Black Sears vineyard lies nestled among hundreds of acres of wild oak forests at the top of Howell Mountain. Looking down from high above the valley fog, the vineyard shares its home and its view with black bears, mountain lions, hawks and rattlesnakes. At about 2700 feet, it is the highest vineyard on Howell Mountain and is among the highest vineyards in all of Napa Valley. The unique climate of Howell Mountain produces wines with a firm structure, intense fruit flavors, earthy spice, and round acidity. The ashy, iron-laden soils are perfectly suited for growing rich Cabernet Sauvignon. These mountaintop conditions and the varied hillside microclimates combine to produce wines of complex structure, incredible intensity, and the intrepid flavors of a remote and distinctive terrain.
The wine shows the vintage by being very approachable and inviting from the first whiff. Slight floral notes excite the nose alongside spice, dark forest berries and traces of leather and cocao. Captivating and sexy, the taste begins with delicious dark fruit enveloped in elegantly balanced oak and tannin. The elevation of this site provides plenty of backbone with spot-on acidity.