95+ Insider Points *Cellar Selection
We were “Howell-in” all the way off the mountain after tasting this ultra unique Pinot Noir from the darkest part of Napa Valley. Grown in an area know for the most interesting Cabernet based wines produced in California this tiny micro climate spot is on the southwestern corner of the mountain closer to San Pablo Bay maritime influence than most of Napa Valley. Keep in Mind this is a mountain wine so the hot valley floor exposure does not apply to this site specific bottling. This is a terroir driven wine, taking advantage of all the volcanic and tufa soils that are the driving force behind the complex spicy notes that wine delivers.
If you love the Pinot Noirs in Santa Lucia Highlands then this is your counter point. Dark and cloudy in the glass the wine is unfined and unfiltered, it is not bashful either. On the nose elements of Sage and thornberries, a dusty quality with mulling spice notes, burnt orange peel and bergamot. In tasting this rare wine the fruit is confirmed Raspberry, blackberry, Cherry compote and sage notes. Medium long finish and plenty of acid for ageability. Highly recommend this wine; the only Pinot Noir on Howell Mountain. A bright light in the valley of darkness. Drink and Hold this fantastic ultra premium Pinot Noir. A true showstopper and conversation starter. - DZ 6/17
100% Pinot Noir: 50% Clone 115; 50% Clone 777
Howell Mountain AVA, Napa Valley
We were stunned by the glory of Howell Mtn Pinot. The rarified find (we don’t see much Howell Mtn Pinot) turned head-scratching into hands clapping and happy sipping when the flavors of baked plum, ripe fig, chanterelles, and heady perfume of redwood shavings hit us.
Ultra Boutique.Wayne and Victoria Prim stared their wine journey making wine at home. Their delectable hobby turned into a path to greatness in 2009, when Wayne teamed up with Rudy von Strasser (that’s right, of the von Strasser Winery). Together, Wayne and Rudy have achieved ultra-premium, ultra-boutique greatness.
The White Cottage Road Estate offers up a Pinot-phile’s playland. Clinging to the side of Howell Mountain (1,670 feet above the floor) with no other vines in sight, rows of Pinot Noir Dijon clones 115 and 777 are a Napa rarity. The cool site couldn’t ripen Napa’s siren Cab, but it’s sublimely suited to seductive Pinot Noir. The fruit, harvested after a long growing season, spends 18 months in French oak before bottle aging to perfection. And perfection takes anywhere from 1 to 5 years to start, but lasts sooo much longer.
Meet the Maker
von Strasser: synonymous with greatness in the cellar, in the bottle, and in your glass. Named a Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine in 2014, Rudy von Strasser has run a tight ship since starting his namesake winery in 1990. His secret weapon: a toned and practiced palate that gives him insight into each vineyard’s wine potential year after year. Top that with meticulous winemaking and a style that is simultaneously magnificent and delicate and you’ve some very tasting wine.
Big, dark and spicy. Wine is full of dense plum and fig mixed with the bright perfume of redwood/cedar shavings and hints of chanterelles. The palate is lifted by bright cinnamon, allspice, and maple, evoking the dense spicy characters and a rich foundation of dark berries and plum that all carry through a lush finish.
“Wayne and Victoria Prim elevated their passion for wine and took it a step further in 2012 by merging their exceptional Howell Mountain harvest with the wine making mastery of Rudy von Strasser to create their first Pinot Noir. The 2013 vintage celebrates our second year of this Howell Mountain exclusive. Prim Family Vineyard has been delivering highly acclaimed and award winning wines since its inception in 2009. The culmination of Rudy von Strasser and the unsurpassed harvests from Howell Mountain deliver outstanding wines that stand out from the rest and provide the perfect addition to any serious wine collection.”
Roasted pork, grilled duck, and pasta in an herbed cream and tomato sauce are all fabulous friends for this bottle.