30 Years Above the Fog: Favorites from the 2014 Taste of Howell Mountain

Taste of Howell Mountain

Live Auction Table Setting at 2014 Taste of Howell Mountain

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Howell Mountain AVA in Napa County by attending the annual Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction at Charles Krug Winery. We had a great time enjoying the wine and food, and looking around it seemed like we weren’t the only ones having a wonderful time.

Robert Craig Winery

Vintner Bob Craig and Winemaker Stephen Tebb from Robert Craig Winery

This is one of our favorite events in Napa County, and we encourage you to consider attending yourself next year (if that wasn’t already in your plans).   At the start of the afternoon 35 wineries offered us the chance to try their latest releases (with a few of them also sharing some library wines) as a silent auction tempted us with a variety of opportunities.  Later on, a fun and festive live auction provided more chances to try wines and help support the Howell Mountain Education Foundation (a non-profit organization receiving part of the day’s proceeds). 

If you are looking for wines that best represent the Howell Mountain AVA right now, please see our recommendations based on what we enjoyed the most at the 2014 Taste of Howell Mountain:


Aloft Wines

Aloft Wines

Aloft – 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

Arkenstone Vineyards – 2012 Loupe Rosé, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Obsidian (Cabernet Sauvignon blend)

Cimarossa – 2010 Rive di Cimarossa (Cabernet Sauvignon)

Clif Family Winery – 2011 kit’s killer cab (Cabernet Sauvignon)

Howell Mountain Vineyards – 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Petit Verdot

La Jota Vineyard Co. – 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

Notre Vin  – 2010 Howell Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery – 2011 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon


Piña Napa Valley

Piña Napa Valley

Piña Napa Valley – 2011 Buckeye Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Retro Cellars – 2010 Howell Mountain Petite Sirah

Robert Craig Winery – 2013 La Fleur Rose, 2011 Howell Mountain Zinfandel, 2011 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Round Two Wines  – 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Saunter Wines – 2011 Eagle Summit Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Winery Chefs

Tandori Chicken Skewers with Green Curry Aioli from Winery Chefs

We are fans of Winery Chefs and their food offerings at the 2014 Taste of Howell Mountain were outstanding as usual.   We particularly enjoyed their “Masters” Sandwich (Sourdough Griddled Sandwich with Pimento Cheese, Crispy Bacon and Pickled Jalapeños) and the multiple Grilled Skewers (Marinated Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde, Tandori Chicken with Green Curry Aioli, Sake and Soy Marinated Portabella Mushrooms, and Spanish Pork with Chorizo and Lemon).

Auctioneer Greg Quiroga

Auctioneer Greg Quiroga

After the walk-around wine tasting, Greg Quiroga entertainingly guided the “Auction” part of the Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction.   Some of the 25 Live Auction items that day were:

  • A Giant’s Grand Slam – a package of 4 Club Level tickets for a Giants vs. Cardinals game, dinner for 4 at Momo’s, 9 bottles of Cresta Velia Cabernet Sauvignon and two autographed baseballs which had a winning bid of $1,700
  • Dine Aloft with the Mondavis – a combination tour of Cold Springs Vineyard, dinner for 6 in Marc and Janice Mondavi’s home, and 3 bottles + 1 magnum of Aloft Cabernet Sauvignon which had a winning bid of $4,400
  • We’ll Have a Barrel of Dunn – the ability to own a barrel of Dunn Vineyards-sourced 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and ultimately make about 23 cases of finished wine with Mike Dunn serving as the consulting winemaker, which had a winning bid of $22,000

Howell Mountain Vintners & Growers AssociationThe Taste of Howell Mountain event is presented by Howell Mountain Vintners and Growers Association, promoting the wonderful wines made from grapes grown just “above the fog.” June 20, 2015 will be the 20th annual TOHM and we’ve already marked our calendars.   If you’d like to get onto a mailing list for notification about the Association’s events just follow the above link to their website.


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