Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Give a Holla! for 2004 Howell at the Moon

Ok, I admit it. I went into the NYC unveiling of the 2004 Howell at the Moon Cabernet (first release) last night with a little bit of a ‘tude. I did not know much about the winery or the vineyard although winemaker Sarah Gott has quite the reputation for making big Cali wines, most notably Quintessa.

What I did know is that Winemonkey and I tried (and failed miserably) to find Howell at the Moon last August when we made a trip out to Napa. We were scheduled for a visit but after circling through Howell Mountain and stopping in front of one unnumbered property after another, we had to give up in order to honor our appointment at Lail. (One honors an appointment with the charming Robin Lail, but that is another story)!

Although the venue for the event was questionable (restaurant row Italian), the thought behind it was admirable (dedicated to 9/11) and the wine was showing extremely well.

The big, dark berry fruit was full of intensity right from the start. The full-bodied palate has lots of ripe berry flavor, a velvety texture and good underlying acidity. I noted some herbal elements as the wine emerged, which gave it a pleasing warmth. The wine is well balanced with a classic Cabernet black currant finish. It could probably benefit from a little time but it is drinking quite well now. Delicious.

Intensity: A

Complexity: B+

Balance & Structure: A

Current: A

Peak: A

Incidentally, the 2005 barrel sample was also on hand. The wine was very dark and intense as well as hugely tannic. It was juicy with, again, great underlying acidity. Overall, good potential and balance and peaking at an “A”.

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