The soils, elevations, and microclimates of Napa Valley are uniquely diverse for a region that is only thirty miles long and about five miles across at the widest point. As a result, the area can produce a broad variety of agricultural products, most notably grape varieties.

Although Napa Valley produces only 4% of California’s total wine output, growers and wineries in the region have developed incredible prestige for world-class wines among wine experts and consumers. Over 400 wineries in Napa Valley produce a full range of award-winning varietals, including high-end Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, and more.

AVAs in Napa Valley

In 1981, Napa Valley became the first Agricultural Viticultural Area (AVA) in California. While this was undoubtedly an important classification, Napa Valley is an amalgamation of several successful grape-growing areas or appellations, each with a distinctive terroir blessed with a unique soil type, topography, and climate.

During the past 40 years, sixteen “nested” AVAs have been identified within the relatively small Napa Valley region.

One of the most exciting and unique nested AVAs, the Howell Mountain appellation, is situated in the northeast sector of Napa Valley.

In 2017, Handwritten Wines, a boutique Yountville winery, began producing their popular Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon wines from grapes harvested from a small vineyard in the Howell Mountain appellation. Since that year, Handwritten Wines has continued to produce this extraordinary wine.

The most recent release, the Handwritten Wines 2018 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, is reserved for their Members Circle members only.

Unique Qualities of the Howell Mountain AVA

Vineyards in the Howell Mountain appellation benefit from the elevation and soil content prevalent throughout the area. While Valley floor vineyards experience frequent fog conditions rolling in from the Pacific Ocean, the Howell Mountain vineyards enjoy sunny, cooler weather. Evening temperatures at the higher level tend to be cooler, with less fluctuation than at lower levels. Additionally, the vineyards receive more rainfall, although this moisture tends to flow off quickly due to the porous, rocky soils of the mountain.

The soils in the Howell Mountain AVA also impact the attributes of the finished wines. Two types of soil prevail in the Howell Mountain region: decomposed volcanic ash and iron-rich red clay. Since both soil types contain limited nutrients, creating stresses that result in very intense wines produced from small grape clusters and fruit. Due to the impact of higher elevation and rocky, dry conditions, wines here have firmer structure, incredible varietal intensity, and excellent aging capability.

With these unique factors, plus the warm summer nights, the Howell Mountain grapes demonstrate a perfect balance between acidity and sugar, yielding a complexity and delightful flavor to the finished wines.

Tasting Handwritten’s 2018 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

The most recent release of Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon was produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes harvested from the Howell Mountain vineyard. The wine was produced and then aged for 22 months in 80% new oak barrels. The Alcohol by Volume (ABV) Level is 14.9%.

Tasting Notes of this high-end Cabernet Sauvignon reveal notes of dark fruit and rich chocolate with notable richness and bold tannins with balanced acidity resulting from the natural stresses on the vines created by Howell Mountain’s exceptionally rough and steep terrain.

Join the Handwritten Wines Members Circle

Learn about the full range of Handwritten Wines handcrafted wines and membership benefits, including the availability of the most recent release of the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and other select choices, by visiting the Handwritten Wines Members Circle webpage.

To reserve your place for an excellent wine tasting experience at Handwritten’s Yountville Tasting Room, visit the website’s Tasting Experiences pages to enter your party size and preferred date and time. You will sample some high-end Cabernet Sauvignon and other excellent varietals while learning more about the technicalities of winemaking.

If you have questions, phone (707)-944-8524. Or you may complete the brief Contact Us Form, and one of our professionals will contact you.