The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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{ } 73 { }  73 The Micro-Estate Above the fogline, Howell Mountain owes its "fame" to its scenic rolling hills, diverse micro-climates, and rocky, porous, nutrient-poor tufa volcanic soil. We love Howell Mountain fruit, but we're not generalizing here as we point out Angwin Estate Vineyards. Winemaker Jon Larson sustainably farms and tends his fruit by hand, making what he describes as a "classically-styled mountain Cabernet Sauvignon." Angwin Estate Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon ($120) expresses Howell Mountain with a howl. The purple-black color and aromas of dried plums, violets, and ripe blackberry are magnetic and alluring with the added gravitas of minerality. The taste profile is an intense coffee and leather savoriness with anise-licked, curvy tannins. While it starts with a roar, it finishes like a songbird that coos with ripe red berry fruit. This is aged 24 months in 57% new French and Hungarian oak. 98 Larson's second label is Angwin Estate Vineyards 2013 The Kissing Trees ($70), a wine based solely on barrel selection. For the Estate Cab, he uses Tonnellerie Nadalié new French barrels and new Nadalié Hungarian barrels; for "Kissing Trees," there's only a touch of Hungarian barrels and less press wine than the Estate Cab, as well as slightly less new French oak. A kissing cousin to the estate, the wine is perhaps more approachable with its firm tannins and defined grace. 95 The Stags Leap District's Point of Distinction We tasted Shafer's 2015 vintages at last year's Premiere Napa Valley, at which time we declared it a stellar year. The Shafer 2015 One Point Five ($95) from Napa Valley's Stags Leap District fits that bill from this warm, dry growing season, which produced smaller berries of intense flavor and color. Comprised of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 3% Malbec, this is a sumptuous, mouth-filling wine that speaks of earth, dark plum, and lavender : It's a powerhouse with balance and energy. Dark chocolate melts on the tongue through the long finish. Father-and-son team John and Doug Shafer refer to their partnership as "a generation and a half," hence the term One Point Five. 95 "The 2015 vintage was the last of a string of drought years," Doug explains. "It gave us a bit less fruit and smaller berries, but what it gave us in terms of size, it more than made up for in flavor. Those smaller berries became wines with excellent structure and extraction that are destined to age beautifully in the cellar." Where Wood Science Meets Superior Distillation Made from high-quality corn and aged ten years in fire-charred, new American white oak barrels, Michter's 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($120) is the latest release of whiskey experts Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann and Master of Distillation Andrea Wilson. Wilson's job is to support Heilmann by managing barrel specs and procurement, heat cycling, and the monitoring of liquid temperatures during aging. "There are two very distinct phases of making Kentucky bourbon," ex - plains Wilson, who was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Kentucky Distillers' Association. From its glowing amber hue to its nose of burnished oak and honeyed orange rind, this 94.4-proof spirit displays a well-behaved cinnamon-pepper palate that allows bountiful notes of peach and jasmine to flourish. 99 PHOTOS COURTESY OF MICHTER'S Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann and Master of Distillation Andrea Wilson. Husband-and-wife team Jon Angwin and Angela Henszel. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JON ANGWIN PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHAFER VINEYARDS John Shafer with son and collaborator Doug.

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