2021 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain
Supportive tannins and fresh acidity give this wine a vibrant aura and portend a long and grand life ahead.
Exceptional high-elevation vineyards in the Howell Mountain appellation produce intensely concentrated grapes for this wine. Soils are volcanic in origin and consist of two main types: the first is decomposed volcanic ash called tufa, and the second is red volcanic rock and clay that is high in iron. Both are nutrient poor, which stresses the vines, producing intense and structured wines from small clusters and berries. The altitude, climate, and soils combine to create a classic mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with incredible concentration, texture, and structure.
Hand harvested in the cool early morning hours, the fruit was immediately subjected to rigorous selection by our three-tiered sorting process, including our cutting-edge optical sorter, with a goal of eliminating less-than-perfect berries. The selected fruit was gently delivered to tank via gravity by our crane system, retaining perfect, whole berries. Cold soaks lasted approximately five days, and fermentations were managed by a combination of délestage and pump overs. Extended maceration, ranging from three to four weeks, fine-tuned tannin profiles, allowing us to build structure and wine complexity. The wine was aged in French oak barrels, 5% of which were new, for twenty-one months.
The dark and brooding 2021 Howell Mountain seems impenetrable, with its black ruby colored hue wafting a dense layer of iron, minerals, and forest floor aromas. With time in the glass more sumptuous flavors of black cherry, mulberries, and melted chocolate open to draw in the taster. Along the palate savory ensanguined steak juices, new leather, tobacco leaf, clove, and sandalwood notes frame the fruitier elements in a complex and tasty fashion. Supportive tannins and fresh acidity give this wine a vibrant aura and portend a long and grand life ahead. - Christopher Tynan, Director of Winemaking