Yao Ming Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
95 - The Wine Advocate
93 - Vinous
Appearance is ruby red with purple hues. A true mountain wine. Generous mountain fruit and structure, extra-long finish. The fruit has barrel notes of toast and vanilla. The pallet is firm and has long tannin structure. The 2016 growing season was an average-yielding vintage in the Napa Valley due to set. We had good balance on the fruiting wire. This is a year that allowed the winemaker focus on harvest and bring out the essence of the vintage.
Our Vineyard is perched on top of Howell Mountain at 2,100 elevation. Cabernet Sauvignon 4, and 6. The soils are decomposed volcanic ash and red clay. We only produce three barrels due to low mountain yields.
Fruit was rigorously hand-sorted and fully destemmed to small stainless-steel tanks with light crushing. Cold soaks (5-7 days), warm fermentations between 29– 32°C (85-90°F), and moderate pumpovers twice each day. Total skin contact ranged from 19-34 days with all fermentations being carefully basket pressed and put to barrel on full fermentation lees for malolactic fermentation (ML). Racking was twice per year with only one assemblage being done to allow the blend to “marry” in barrel. Barrels for final blend were hand selected by taste. Native yeast and ML used with only small lots conducted using cultured Bordeaux isolates. Bottled without filtration.
97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot.