Lail Mole Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Another great growing season on Howell Mountain delivers this classic, pure Cabernet Sauvignon. It has that signature family of black fruit aromas and flavors: boysenberry, blackberry, loganberry and black raspberry. Fine tannins and bright acidity provide a frame upon which these flavors dance and cavort. This is a large shouldered wine with power aplenty, and will continue to add nuance and refinement for years to come.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Robin Daniel Lail’s heritage began in 1879 with the founding of Inglenook Vineyards by her great -granduncle, the iconic Captain Gustave Niebaum. By the early 1890s, this brilliant man’s obsession for achieving the pinnacle of excellence earned Inglenook wines the status of being considered by many as the finest produced in the country.
The determination to achieve excellence was carried forward through the decades following Niebaum’s death in 1908, with a crescendo in the thirty years following the repeal of Prohibition under the meticulous, passionate stewardship of John Daniel, Jr., Robin’s father. The collection of Cabernets coming from his years of ownership is still celebrated today as some of the finest red wines on earth.
Although Inglenook was sold in 1964, the passion for winemaking did not fade. Robin inherited her father’s respect for tradition. After working as the personal assistant to her mentor, Robert Mondavi, for five years, she left in 1982 to co-found Dominus Estate with Christian Moueix. The following year she co-founded Merryvale Vineyards with Bill Harlan, serving as president for a decade, before finally launching on her eponymous venture, Lail Vineyards, with her two daughters in 1995. Today her family honors his legacy with their relentless pursuit to produce wines second to none.
Today Cabernet Sauvignon is the star of this part of Napa’s rugged, eastern hills, but Zinfandel was responsible for giving the Howell Mountain growing area its original fame in the late 1800s.
Winemaking in Howell Mountain was abandoned during Prohibition, and wasn’t reawakened until the arrival of Randy Dunn, a talented winemaker famous for the success of Caymus in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early eighties, he set his sights on the Napa hills and subsequently astonished the wine world with a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Shortly thereafter Howell Mountain became officially recognized as the first sub-region of Napa Valley (1983).
With vineyards at 1,400 to 2,000 feet in elevation, they predominantly sit above the fog line but the days in Howell Mountain remain cooler than those in the heart of the valley, giving the grapes a bit more time on the vine.
The Howell Mountain AVA includes 1,000 acres of vineyards interspersed by forestlands in the Vaca Mountains. The soils, shallow and infertile with good drainage, are volcanic ash and red clay and produce highly concentrated berries with thick skins. The resulting wines are full of structure and potential to age.
Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah thrive in this sub-appellation, as well as its founding variety, Zinfandel.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.