Napa Valley, California
Howell Mountain
Not quite opaque, blackish and reddish purple core, a mutating mishmash of hues, the rims more consistent brick red and orange rust. The nose is stuffed with plum, cassis, blackberry fruit without verging on prune, just superripe, menthol, pine breeze and lavender accents, restrained caramel, milk chocolate notes and does not at all come across as oaky, still today all about the fruit. Full-bodied and remains in the process of slimming down. Here you do get an incipient prune gloss on the blueberry, blackberry, raspberry fruit base. Semi-gritty texture as the tannin resolves and the wine ages, More orange to grapefruit citrus here, the coconut custard and caramel soften it a little. Moderate menthol to eucalyptus. Heady but not a lot of burn for the ABV. Likely just a little past peak but well inside its sweet spot, literally and figuratively.
90 points