Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Camiana Howell Mtn Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Camiana Howell Mountain Blue Hall Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Wine buddy and fellow Pour Boy Bill C introduced us to this wine when he and son Matt acquired a case or more and shared with us a mini-vertical collection of four different vintages. We served and wrote about this wine earlier this summer at a wine dinner with neighbors Mark and Shirley and wine buddy fellow 'Pour Boy' Dr Dan and Linda.

Tonight we opened this and drank it with left over beef tenderloin and some artisan cheeses. 

As I wrote last summer, this is from Blue Hall Vineyard, a 5 acre site on Howell Mountain. Andrew Zolopa purchased the property on Howell Mountain in 1998 sited near the top of Howell Mountain at an elevation of 1,700 feet above Napa Valley. In 2000-01, Zolopa planted the five acre vineyard of which 3 acres was planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard was adjacent to vineyards owned by Beringer.

Zolopa named the vineyard Blue Hall Vineyard, deriving its name from the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who spent his honeymoon in a cabin on the side of Mount St. Helena in the summer of 1880. Stevenson was inspired by the purity of the blue sky and exclaimed that it was as if he had entered "the blue hall of heaven." The name reference “Blue Hall” was from the book “Silverado Squatters”, written by Stevenson – a book that featured much about historical Napa Valley.

This 2004 is their inaugural release, their first wine, a 100% estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Andrew named the wine Camiana" after his daughters Camille and Juliana. Ted Osborne was self taught winemaker, building on experience working at Passing Clouds in Australia, Rupert & Rothschild in South Africa, and Chateau du Seuil in Bordeaux. Coming to America, he put in time working for two well-known Napa wineries, Cakebread and Storybook Mountain, the northern most winery in the Napa Valley

Camiana Blue Hall Vineyards Napa Valley Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Only 80 cases made of Blue Hall’s first vintage in 2004, which they held until after their first commercial release in 2005. While the 2004 was technically their first vintage, it was released after the 2005 as a library wine. 

Their 2004 with the additional year in the bottle was their “biggest” wine out of their first few vintages. They produced the label annually until 2013, their last vintage produced.

This is one vintage of a vertical collection we acquired with/from fellow wine buddy and 'Pour Boy' Bill C who acquired a case of vintages with son and fellow collector Matt back in 2012. We're still holding four vintages of that collection and this is the oldest release from the selection.

Bill's tasting notes for this vintage release from his Cellartracker post back in 2015 says, "What a treat! Tasted side by side with the 2005 Camiana and we could not tell the difference between the two aside from additional sediment in the '04. Deep garnet in the glass, big black fruit with a touch of sweetness. Silky smooth tannins and a long, lingering finish. Beautiful Howell Mountain product. We were impressed by this small vineyard when we bought some '07 on sale 3 or 4 years ago. The big, bold, fruit forward style convinced us to try some earlier vintages. This was not terribly expensive at $45 a bottle. Great value and the '04 and '05 were absolutely at peak."
- 92 Points
At sixteen years of age, this bottle was showing its age a bit with notes of earth, leather and sage.