For a wine dinner gathering with friends, Bob & Gloria, and Bill & Beth C, we dined at Angelis Italian our neighborhood trattoria. Bill and I brought a couple of bottles BYOB - Bill brought a select Freemark Abbey Howell Mountain Merlot to pair with my vintage '97 vintage release of Snowden Napa Cabernet, which I brought to follow the current '13 single vineyard release tasted yesterday at Vin Chicago.
Bill and I both hold significant collections of Freemark Abbey and Bill is a long-time wine club member with numerous special limited release labels such as this Howell Mountain Merlot bottling. Visiting the winery and touring their cellar/library was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley Wine Experience 09.
Freemark Abbey Howell Mountain Merlot 2010
The Howell Mountain fruit pops out and stands big for a Napa Merlot - dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, bright forward concentrated black berry and black cherry fruits accented by a layer of mocha with hints of earth, cassis and tobacco.
RM 91 points.
Snowden Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
As stated yesterday in these pages we hold several vintages of the early releases of Snowden from their inaugural release back in 1993 through 2001. I pulled this '97 to taste and compare to the current release tasted yesterday at Vin Chicago.
At seventeen years, this was tight and focused. Much like that recent single vineyard designated release, this was blackish garnet colored, medium-full bodied, but with somewhat subdued concentrated black berry and black currant fruits with tones of tangy clove spice, hints of graphite, black olive and truffles, turning to a long lingering clinging tannin finish, holding a long after taste of moderate oak.