Last month, the 18th Annual Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction took place at Charles Krug Winery. The occasion was a rare chance to enjoy multiple wineries from the Howell Mountain appellation, brought together by the Howell Mountain Vintners and Growers Association. We had a great time enjoying the weather, wine, and food and helping to support the Howell Mountain Education Foundation. Looking around that day, it seemed like we weren’t the only ones having a wonderful time.
In honor of the America’s Cup, this year’s event was promoted as the Howell Mountain Cup, a Wine Tasting Regatta. The weather was excellent, and the wines were plentiful and tasty. At the start of the day, 40 wineries offered us the chance to try their latest releases, with a few of them also sharing some library wines. Of the food being catered by Winery Chefs, our favorites this year were the Anchor Steam Braised Beef Brisket Sliders with Quick Pickled Red Cabbage and the Macaroni and Cheese “Cupcake” with Cheddar, Goat, and Parmesan Cheeses.
If you are looking for suggestions on wines that best represent the Howell Mountain AVA right now, please find below our recommendations of what we enjoyed the most at the 2013 Annual Taste of Howell Mountain:
Arkenstone Vineyards – 2009 Obsidian (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Bravante Vineyards – 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc
Cimarossa – 2007 Riva di Livante and 2009 Rian Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons
Duckhorn Vineyards – 2007 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Lamborn Family Vineyards – 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Red Cap Vineyards – 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Robert Craig Winery – 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Zinfandel
Robert Foley Vineyards – 2009 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
After the walk-around wine tasting portion of the afternoon, Ed Gold facilitated the “Auction” part of the Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction. In addition to many happy Silent Auction and Live Auction winners, there was a lucky raffle winner named Peter who walked away with 100 bottles of Cabernet from the California Cabernet Society thanks to a lucky 6 of Spades card. Some of the 28 Live Auction items that day were:
- The “Mountain Man” Rolls Out the Red Carpet – a combination lunch, tour, and tasting for 6 people hosted by Bob and Lynn Craig, along with a 3L bottle and 3 magnums of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Robert Craig Winery which had a winning bid of $2800
- Artistic Talent in the Bottle and on Canvas – a package of a 3L bottle of Lamborn Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon with an etched, hand-painted, and signed label, six more bottles of 750ml Cabernet Sauvignon, and a giclee painting, all made by Heidi Peterson Barrett which had a winning bid of $2700
- Go Big with Bravante – an opportunity for eight people to enjoy a tour of Bravante Vineyards and a vertical tasting of their 2003 – 2008 wines, along with a 3L bottle, and three magnums of wine which had a winning bid of $1400
A repeat pleasure at the 2013 Howell Mountain Wine Tasting was the return of the Howell Mountain Cookie Company. Our favorites are still their soft and chewy Coconut Lime Cookie and their Everything Cookie (with oats, almonds, pecans, white chocolate, semisweet chocolate, dried cherries, raisins, and coconut) but a Cranberry, Orange, and Almond Cookie was a welcome new addition. This worthwhile organization is headed by Tami McDonald and comes out of the Cookie Project where teens are given hands-on experience in the tasks of running a small business (research and development, manufacturing, packaging, product delivery, business planning, budget management, and community relations). Through these activities and experiences, youths in the area acquire job skills that will enhance confidence and success in their futures. The Howell Mountain Cookie Company is just one of the projects of the Napa Valley Youth Advocacy Center, a youth advocacy and support resource offering projects and services for youths and their families throughout the Napa Valley.
The 2013 Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction was a definite success, and we’re hoping to attend next year’s event as well. If you’d like 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.