Earlier this month, the 17th annual Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction took place at Charles Krug Winery. We had a very nice time, but 100+ degree weather presented a significant barrier to enjoying the event to its fullest. The good news is that the Howell Mountain Open Wine Tasting Classic (the adopted name for 2012) helped raise about $50,000 to benefit the Howell Mountain Elementary School.
As expected, the food was excellent. Winery Chefs offered three tasty and different dishes to savor between sips: a BBQ parfait of Smoked Pork Shoulder, Pinquito Beans, and Cole Slaw: a Grilled Sandwich of Pimento Cheese, Bacon, and Pickled Jalapeños; and a Lettuce Cup filled with Grilled Beef, Rice Noodle, and Jicama Cucumber Salad.
The Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction was managed well. The event moved along on schedule, the musical entertainment was festive, the food stations were scattered around, trashcans were emptied, water jugs were filled, and extra chairs were moved inside and upstairs quickly when the Live Auction portion began.
The 2012 Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction offered us the chance to try wine from several wineries we’ve been to and some we hadn’t been exposed to yet. During the wine tasting portion of the day these were our favorite wines:
Arkenstone Vineyards – 2007 Obsidian (Cabernet Sauvignon), 2008 Estate Obsidian (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Black Sears Vineyards – 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Estate Zinfandel
Blue Hall Vineyard – 2008 Camiana (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Charles Krug Winery – 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (Rocky Ridge Vineyard)
Cimarossa – 2008 Rive di Cimarossa (Cabernet Sauvignon), 2008 Rian Vineyard (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Cornerstone Cellars – 1992 Howell Mountain Beatty Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon
Duckhorn Vineyards – 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Dunn Vineyards – 2002 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell at the Moon – 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Knoll Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
La Jota Vineyard Co. – 2009 Howell Mountain Merlot, 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc, 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Notre Vin – 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery – 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Retro Cellars – 2007 Petite Sirah
Robert Craig Winery – 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Zinfandel
SPENCE - 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
The Live Auction portion of the Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction took place upstairs in the Carriage House. Many interesting packages were auctioned off, including a Progressive Dinner for 8 at Outpost Wines, CADE, and Aloft which had a winning bid of $4,600. In addition to many happy Silent Auction and Live Auction winners, there was also one lucky raffle winner of 100 bottles of Cabernet from the California Cabernet Society.
An unexpected but very pleasant surprise was that the Howell Mountain Cookie Company sold their cookies at the event. Our favorites were their soft and chewy Coconut Lime Cookie and their Everything Cookie (with oats, almonds, pecans, white chocolate, semisweet chocolate, dried cherries, raisins, and coconut). The organization comes out of the Cookie Project at the Napa Valley Youth Advocacy Center where teens are given hands-on experience in the tasks of running a small business (manufacturing, packaging, budget management, product delivery), thereby acquiring job skills that will enhance confidence and success in the future.
The 2012 Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction was a success, despite way-hotter-than-normal weather. We’ve already marked our calendar for next year’s event on June 15, 2013. To get onto a mailing list for notification about next year’s event please go to the Howell Mountain Vintners and Growers Association website here.