As the most widely grown and highly acclaimed varietal in the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly deserving of the attention it receives. At Clif Family, we like to refer to our Howell Mountain Cabernet as the King of the Mountain. As cyclists and adventure seekers, this title refers to the best climber in a cycling road race. Our parallel in winemaking is the best grapes for our winemaking program. And few could argue that Howell Mountain is the home to some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Winemaker Laura Barrett works with our Vineyard Manager, Erik Dodd from Wight Vineyard Management to ensure that each vine is cared for with an attention to quality. Clif Family has two organically farmed estate vineyard properties on Howell Mountain where we grow Cabernet Sauvignon. Our Cold Springs Vineyard and our Croquet Vineyard. Although they both are located within the Howell Mountain AVA, the growing sites are very unique, resulting in wines with very different characteristics.
Our Cold Springs Vineyard, positioned on the south side of Howell Mountain, sits at 1660 feet elevation and is composed of volcanic ash soils. The climate here is cooler due to the marine influence and harvest dates are typically mid to late October. Just 4.2 miles over the mountain sits our Croquet Vineyard. This site is positioned on the north side of Howell Mountain at 1785 feet and is composed of Aiken loam soils. With the weather influence coming from the east, this site tends to be warmer, and harvest dates are in mid September.
Named for the nickname that Kit gave our very first vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Kit’s Killer Cab is a blend from these two Estate Vineyards. The 2014 vintage has beautiful aromas of black fruits with a subtle floral component. The entry is a burst of sweet tannin, followed by a finish that you can chew on for a while after. This wine drinks beautifully now and can be aged over the next decade.
Clif Family Executive Chef John McConnell recommends pairing our Kit’s Killer Cabernet with grilled meats like beef and lamb or a char-grilled hamburger with red wine sautéed onions and gruyere cheese. It’s also delicious anytime with a hearty pasta Bolognese.
Visit us at the Clif Family Tasting Room and Bruschetteria Food Truck in downtown St. Helena to experience all of our wines and food pairings or to kick off your own King of the Mountain cycling experience.
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Cheers, The Clif Family Winery Team
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