Duckhorn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon -- BIG Bottles
In 1850, Lillie Hitchcock Coit found herself trapped in a burning hotel. Luckily, a San Francisco firefighter risked his life and saved the 7-year-old Coit. Years later, to repay her debt, she became the fire engine company's most prominent patron. Known for her philanthropy, legendary parties and devotion to the Knickerbocker Fire Engine Company #5, Lillie would leave significant marks on the Bay Area when she passed away.
Most San Franciscans most know Lillie for the 210-foot tower on Telegraph Hill that bears her name But, in Napa Valley, Lillie Coit was far better remembered for her Napa Valley residence where three lonely palm trees somehow managed to grow on rocky, volcanic soils.
Some 45 years after the death of the greatest patron Company #5 has ever known, Dan Duckhorn purchased Lillie Hitchcock Coit's property and planted Merlot all around those three palms. By the late 1980s, Duckhorn's Three Palms Merlot had redefined the variety in Napa Valley.
But if "Three Palms" is Duckhorn's oldest and most revered calling card, it would be his second volcanic soil venture that most attracts the cognoscenti. Drawn from two of the oldest and most revered sites on Howell Mountain, Duckhorn's Candlestick Ridge Vineyard (planted in 1950!) and Stout Vineyard (adjacent to Randy Dunn's place) provide for one of the mountain's most monumental Cabernet Sauvignons. Phenomenally concentrated, masculine and muscular, the Duckhorn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is known both for its deep, blackberry core and its supple tanning longevity. Out of 750ml bottles, patient collectors lay these down for a decade before popping a cork. And out of Magnums? You're about to find out.
If Duckhorn's Howell Mountain Cabernet really sang in the warm 2002 and 2004 vintages, the top wines of the decade would come from the tiny crop of 2008 and, not surprisingly, the monumentally voluptuous 2007.
Candlestick Canyon is situated just a couple miles past Outpost. The northeast exposure of this manicured hillside offers warm afternoon winds, pushing the envelope on mountain concentration. Stout Vineyard -- what we believe to be the oldest planting on Howell -- enjoys classical southern exposure, and was harvested 10-12 days after Candlestick in both 2007 and 2008. While Candlestick provides the ultra-rich blackberry core of Duckhorn's Howell Mountain powerhouses, it's the tiny berry Stout Vineyard fruit that furnishes the Cabernet's broad shoulders, phenomenal density, and terrifically age-worthy backbone.
Thanks to those of you who feasted on the Three Palm magnum offers over the last four months. Duckhorn was somewhat skeptical about the strength of our membership before those emails went out. They're not skeptical any more.
Just twenty 1.5L-bottle cases of the phenomenal 2007 and 2008 Duckhorn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon have been resting quietly in the winery's cellar since bottling -- every one of which has now been earmarked for WineAccess high rollers.