- Producer: Arkenstone Estate Winery - read about the Estate
- Winemaker: Sam Kaplan
- Region (AVA): Napa Valley (Howell Mountain)
- Blend: 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 4% Malbec
- Vintage production: 500 cases
- Winery location: Howell Mountain
- Owners: Ron & Susan Krausz
- First vintage: 2006
- Drinking window: 2018-2038
About The Wine
2015 celebrated the 10th anniversary of the winery, which is noted on the capsule of this bottling. Although the estate was established in 1988, the majority of the vines were not planted until 1998 with the ﬁrst bottled vintage happening in 2006.
The Estate Red is the ﬂagship wine of Arkenstone, and made in the Bordeaux style, utilizing each of the ﬁve red varietals. The composition of the Estate Red changes with each vintage, but Cabernet Sauvignon is always dominant.
Aside from the Cabernet Sauvignon, most of the red varietals are planted on steep southwest facing slopes at up to a 50% grade. Due to these steep hillsides, the vines beneﬁt from excellent natural airﬂow and drainage. The Cabernet Sauvignon sits at the top of the estate and thus is not prone to prolonged water retention.
At Arkenstone the red varietals are planted predominantly in iron-rich red clay/loam which is speckled with large volcanic rocks. The soil itself is nutrient deﬁcient and the presence of volcanic rock provides optimal drainage. These factors result in vines that are constantly struggling to produce fruit. Having the fruit struggle naturally helps to produce a more concentrated, but balanced crop.
The 2015 season began with early bud break and was followed by heavy wind and rain during peak bloom, resulting in a near 50% yield reduction. Though the yields were lower, the fruit quality was very high, resulting in wines that are rich, elegant and well-structured.
Arkenstone Howell Mountain Estate Red 2015
"This estate blend from Howell Mountain was formerly known as “Obsidian.” Composed of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot and 4% Malbec, the 2015 Proprietary Red Estate gives a deep garnet-purple color and aromas of spiced blackberries, fruitcake and plum pudding with suggestions of Indian spices, earth and underbrush, plus a touch of violets. Packed with rich, opulent fruit in the full-bodied mouth, it has a solid, fine-grained backbone and plenty of freshness, finishing long and multilayered."
97 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown (The Wine Advocate, Oct. 2017)