Modest winter rainfall, particularly after January, mitigated the effects of the fourth drought year in a row. The year was a study in moderation: rolling modest heat and cool waves, with few very warm spells until July, returning to mild in August and September. Mostly a dry growing season, we picked ahead of October rains that came at the end of the second week of the month closing the growing year. While vine growth was controlled by the dry season, we exposed the fruit at the end of September to make the most of the sunshine in the moderate weather. Modest ripening temperatures preserved acidity, color, and tannin structure. As with the last three vintages, the low soil
moisture kept the grape berries extremely small and thick skinned, which gave us wines of intensity and complexity.
2016 Howell Mountain Tasting Notes
Another savory vintage, the wine opens with sweet spice, mocha and black fruit scents. Sweet brambly fruit laced with espresso and chocolate greet the palate, while refined tannins carry the concentrated black currant and cherry liquer through the long round finish. While it will improve for years in the cellar, it can be enjoyed in the near term with decanting.