The Pinnacle of Howell Mountain
Both geographically and in terms of Napa Valley Cabernet greatness, Clark Claudon are the pinnacle of Howell Mountain. At 1,000 feet up the northeast side of the mountain are 18-acres of sun-drenched, windswept vineyards belonging to two of the loveliest souls in the Napa Valley: Tom Clark and Laurie Claudon. It’s great when wonderful people make wonderful wine, and their 2013 Clark Claudon “Eternity” is just that. I was introduced to Tom and Laurie’s outstanding mountain Cabernet by their superstar consultant winemaker, Jean Hoefliger, of Alpha Omega fame. In tandem with winemaker Frederic Delivert — a star in his own right, who has spent time at Far Niente, Duckhorn, PlumpJack, and Cade — Hoefliger crafts tiny quantities of highly pedigreed mountain Cab. The 2013 Eternity was awarded 95+ points by Robert Parker who called it “stunning,” hailing the wine’s “lavish concentration and intensity.” This library release is Napa Valley Cabernet at its pinnacle and collectors should jump on this ageworthy gem. $200 from the winery. Offered to Wine Access clients for just $129.99 per bottle — 35% off. But only 300 bottles for the taking.
Howell Mountain Cabernets are renowned for their powerhouse structure, and in Napa’s historic 2013 vintage, that high-altitude pedigree made for an awesomely ageworthy, architectural marvel. At the Clark-Claudon estate, spring and early summer conditions were ideal making for a large, uniform set of small-berry clusters. July, August, and September remained cool but exceedingly dry. When the call to harvest finally came, concentration was extreme, but equally important, berries were small and skins thick.
The result was a majestic Cabernet — barrel fermented and aged for two years in 70% new French oak, displaying haunting aromas of black and blue fruits, licorice, and dark chocolate with clove. The 2013 Eternity is exactly the kind of blockbuster that lead Robert Parker to write, “2013 may turn out to be the finest vintage I have experienced in tasting North Coast varietals over the last 37 years.” I’m truly excited to share this 300-bottle allocation, as production at the estate is especially small. True to their character, Tom and Laurie have provided something truly excellent.
Matt Deller MW
Master of Wine