Bravante Merlot 2011, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California

The Howell Mountain Appellation is one of California’s most sought after, ultra-premium wine growing regions. Located in the mountains east of St. Helena, this Napa Valley appellation spreads across the mountain slope, its elevation ranging from 1,400-2,300 feet above sea level, although most of the surrounding acerage is not plantable. The unique climate and rugged soil conditions found on Howell Mountain are the key to consistent achievement of excellent wines from this historic appellation. Warm days and cool nights in the summer give rise to a wonderfully balanced chemistry within each tiny berry. Sparse well-draining soils of volcanic ash and gravely loam work in conjunction with the unique micro-climate to produce small quantities of extraordinary fruit per acre. The 2011 vintage Merlot has small amounts of estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon added to increase the depth and flavor spectrum of this intense wine. This is a complex wine full in body and has flavors of raspberry and dried cherry. It has aromas of fruit, herbs and toasty oak.