O’Shaughnessy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA 2012
This great little number is among the dozens of tiny-production Cabernets made by family-owned wineries, often located high up in Napa Valley’s mountains, a 30-minute drive – but a world away
– from the valley floor. This is black bear, mountain lion, and rattlesnake territory, and the wines often smell and taste of the rugged wild landscape that surrounds the small vineyards.
O’Shaughnessy makes two mountain Cabernet Sauvignons – one from Mount Veeder (cooler, with sedimentary soils) and this one from Howell Mountain (warmer, with volcanic soils). While I have been impressed by the deliciousness of both, the Howell Mountain wine, with its deep, exotic spiciness, almost furry texture and vivid black fig, dark tobacco and cassis flavour, is the more hedonistic of the two. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and the rare, ancient Bordeaux grape St Macaire.
Taster Karen MacNeil
*US stockists found on wine-searcher.com