Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Clark Claudon Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Clark Claudon Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Following our Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon wine theme dinner the other night, I couldn't help but continue the tasting flight by opening this selection. I event noted in my wine journal post from the other night where I cited this wine as the next one I would open if we had more participants to taste such. Tonight's tasting was possible because I have 375ml half bottles of this wine allowing me to open one for a week night dinner for just bride L and me with left over tenderloin and roasted potatoes from our Saturday night wine dinner.

As I've written before in this blog about this wine, we've been collecting this Howell Mountain classic since our Napa Valley Wine Experience 1999 when we first met Tom Clark and Laurie Claudon-Clark and hosted them at one of our wine producer dinners.

We have collected and maintain a vertical collection of this wine consisting of a dozen and half vintages dating back to their inaugural 1993 vintage. We have tasted this in several Napa Cabernet wine flights with a consistent outcome - often a blockbuster crowd pleaser.

Deep inky garnet colored,  full bodied - explosive aromas of ripe dark berry fruits, big mouth-full of forward complex, balanced, silky smooth, polished spicy black currant and edge of red berry fruits, with mouthful of floral violets, tones of dark mocha and turning to a predominant forward accent of sweet smooth spicy sweet oak that lingers on and on and on the smooth tannin finish, revealing the two years aging in new oak barrels. This was more vibrant and expressive than earlier tastings.

The 2004 Napa growing season was condensed with early bud break, warm days, cool nights and one challenging heat spike. The result was a small harvest of intense, flavor packed fruit from an unusual, but exceptional year that is showing and drinking well and should last another decade.

RM 93 points.