"Opening aromas of blackberries, plums and dark chocolate carry through to the palate. Accents of spring wildflowers, spiced honey, and pie crust highlight complexity. Ripe focused tannins follow the flavors to a lingering cocoa powder finish."
Robert Parker: The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain reveals the most opaque color of this group, nearly blue/purple to the rim, and is impressively rich and full-bodied with sweet tannin and a layered, long style. It is one of the finest Conn Creek Cabernets I have tasted in many years. Enjoy it over the next 10-12 years.
Four vineyards contribute 71% of the fruit for this wine. Collins Holystone Vineyard in St. Helena, owned by Conn Creek Winery founders Bill and Kathleen Collins, is the largest component at 37%. The vineyard’s site enjoys a warm climate and good drainage leading to consistent early season maturity. Surber Vineyard from Calistoga added 13% and Tall Trees from Yountville another 12% of the blend. The well-known Stagecoach Vineyard in the Atlas Peak appellation in the Vaca Mountains contributed 9%. The remaining 29% comes from the Oakville, Chiles Valley, Oak Knoll, Rutherford, and Mt. Veeder appellations. The combination of the various vineyard sites and their expressions of terroir all make contributions to this complete and complex Cabernet Sauvignon.
|Wine maker notes
|Individual vineyard blocks were fermented separately to capture the unique characteristics of
their respective sites.
Structure and fresh fruit aromas were enhanced by maintaining moderate fermentation
temperatures and appropriate cap management.
Elevage was 19 months in 36% new French oak barrels from selected coopers.
|Founded in the early 1970’s, Conn Creek was among a small group of wineries leading a renaissance of the Napa Valley, and played an important part in establishing Napa Valley’s reputation as a fine wine growing region.
When Bill and Kathy Collins purchased 54 acres of Zinfandel vines in northern Napa Valley in 1968, there was not much of a market for fine wine in the U.S. But at the time they were content hauling the grapes down to their Los Altos Hills home and making wine in a friend’s basement. Little did they know that in less than a decade they’d make a wine that Robert Parker would call “one of the great classics of the seventies, as well as a testament to what heights California Cabernet Sauvignon can achieve.”
That was the 1974 Conn Creek Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and it was the beginning of Conn Creek’s enduring commitment to Bordeaux-styled red wines. Bill and Kathy always knew they wanted to make Cabernet Sauvignon; Kathy became enamored of the varietal when she taught school in France, and Bill, an Annapolis Naval Academy graduate and electronics executive whose travels often took him to France, recognized early on that Napa Valley had the ideal climate and topography for Cabernet. So in addition to replacing the non-producing Zinfandel vines in their own vineyard with Bordeaux varieties, they began sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon from other Napa Valley grape growers.
It proved to be a good strategy. Through the seventies and into the mid-eighties when they eventually sold the winery, Conn Creek made some of the most highly acclaimed wines in California, including several from the Collins’ own vineyard.
By 1979, they outgrew the facility they’d been leasing for several years. So Bill Collins, working primarily with his vineyard crew, built what is now the Conn Creek Winery in the Rutherford appellation. In what was perhaps the first “green” winery building in Napa Valley, they installed 12”-thick walls made of styrofoam, steel mesh, gunite and a total of 20,000 corks. This energy-efficient design--ground-breaking for its time--drew the attention of architects from all over the world. Variations on this type of construction have been used in buildings and wineries worldwide ever since.