Review | Taste of Howell Mountain 2011

Charles Krug Carriage house

Taste of Howell Mountain 2011, at the Charles Krug winery

There comes a time in every wine drinkers “career” that they experience wine at a whole new level.  The experience is not a singularity, and the wine lover will begin a new journey in search of repeat adventures on this new plateau.   For me, The Taste of Howell Mountain was one of these events.

The Taste of Howell Mountain was held on June 18th in the carriage house and on the stunningly beautiful and lush grounds of the Charles Krug winery in St. Helena, Napa Valley.  The Charles Krug Winery’s 850 acre estate surrounded the grove of massive oak trees which provided much needed shade.

Charles Krug winery

View from the balcony

Guests paid $125 a ticket to attend the event to raise money for the Howell Mountain elementary school.  There were silent auction items, and even a pinata worth about $400 in wine prizes.  But the real money raiser was the live auction which got underway at 3pm in the grand ballroom upstairs in the carriage house.  Randy Dunn Vineyards had two stunning lots up for auction: a 27 year vertical of 750ml bottles and a 19 year vertical of magnums, both from his Howell Mountain Estate.

In all, 32 Howell Mountain Wineries were pouring including Outpost, O’Shaughnessy, Robert Craig, Robert Foley, Black Sears, Lamborn and Cade.

Outpost winery

Outpost Winery

I experienced a taste overload shortly after visiting my first table, Outpost.  They were pouring  2008 Howell Mountain Grenache, Zinfandel and Cabernet.  All three were absolutely outstanding and are sold out!

One of the things I noticed about a lot of the wines I was drinking was how incredibly rare they were.  Most producers produced less than 1,000 cases of the wines they were offering.  Many producers produce less than 500 cases.  These wines are simply not available in most specialty wine shops let alone a grocery store.  Most are sold exclusively through mailing lists and prices start at around $75 a bottle

carriage house charles krug

The live auction

In addition, the Howell Mountain AVA is quite remote and private.  Most of the vineyards are not open to the public and tastings if done at all, are by appointment only.

Over a wine lovers lifetime they will experience many pivotal moments in wine.  For me a recent moment was ’83 Chateau d’Yquem.  The taste of Howell Mountain was not unlike that life changing event.  Simply amazing wines, beautiful setting, and to benefit children?  It couldn’t have been a better day

Check out my Facebook Page for more photos of the event!

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