2007 Howell Mountain Zinfandel
California: Howell Mountain (Napa)
From winemaker Duane Dappen, today’s high elevation Zinfandel is an elegant and flavor-loaded Zin. Not as over-ripe or over-driven as some of its Howell Mountain Cabernet brethren, this Zinfandel is actually more elegant than some of the high-dollar cabs that hail from this region.
Mister Dappen has had an illustrious career, having honed his craft at Rombauer, Frank Family Winery, Bravante Vineyards and Stone Ridge Vineyard. Duane is known in the wine trade as The ZinMaster, a moniker that is so well-deserved.
Today’s 2007 D-Cubed Cellars Howell Mountain Zinfandel is a truly excellent wine and we offer it to you with our very hearty recommendation. Duane Dappen continues to impress us with excellent wine after excellent wine, and we are just thrilled to be able to bring you his latest Zinfandel.
Today’s Howell Mountain Zinfandel is unique in that it is one of the few Zinfandels to come from this mostly-Cabernet Sauvignon growing region. In fact, many Zinfandel plantings are being ripped out, in favor of the more profitable Cabernet Sauvignon.
2007 wines have been selling like hot-cakes (Robert Parker gave the vintage a decade-shattering 96 Points), and today’s 2007 clearly shows why; wines from this vintage are almost universally astounding.
Zin fans, please don’t miss out on this fantastic wine.
Pretty and perfectly clear, through the dark ruby hues, this wine shows perfectly even coloration, from core to edge.
Perfumed and lively, with dried dark flowers, black currant, dried blueberry, dried mission fig, cinnamon stick, clove and dried fall leaves.
Dark dried blackfruits, dried dark rose petals, nasturtium flower, dried fig, plum, dark cedar, black pepper and a hint of baking spice.
Long and dark, with black fruits gradually yielding to spice and a hint of graphite.
Enjoy this dark and woodsy Zinfandel with an herb rubbed roasted chicken or more exotic game fowl.
What the Winery Says
2007 Howell Mountain Zinfandel: The 2007 Howell Mountain Zinfandel is blended from two vineyards, Slaybaugh Ranch at 1800 ft and Black Sears Vineyard at 2400 ft, both well above the morning fog of Napa Valley. The altitude and unique soils of Howell Mountain help to create intense and complex wines. This wine shows the terroir it was born from while maintaining elegance and grace.
D-cubed Cellars 2007 Howell Mountain Zinfandel has aromas of raspberry, and dark cherries with white pepper and hints of wild mushrooms. This Howell Mountain wine has rich body and medium-full tannins that fill the mouth nicely. There are wonderful flavors of raspberries, porcini mushrooms and cigar box. The wine finishes long and rich with flavors of berries and cedar.
- Appellation:96% Howell Mountain, 4% Napa Valley
- Varietal Content
- 96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah
- 573 cases
- Release date
- September 1, 2010
- Time in oak - 11 months French and American
- September 2008
- No fining
- One polish filtration
- Aging potential
- 5 to 7 years
About the Winery
D-cubed Cellars started in 1994 with the Howell Mountain Zinfandel made grapes grown at the Black Sears Vineyard. In 2010 D-cubed Cellars was called a Top Artisan Winery by Wine and Spirits Magazine, a wonderful honor.
Now we have the 2007 Vintage of wines! 2007 is an amazing vintage of well balanced wines with fruit being in front of it all. Having 5 Zinfandels from this vintage demonstrates how well Zinfandel displays its terrior and how versatile Zinfandel can be!
Please check out all the pages we have on this website. Be sure to visit In Our Kitchen, which features recipes approved by my 15-year-old daughter and my 7 year old son, of course they pair well with D-cubed Cellars Wines.
When you are visiting the Napa Valley stop by my tasting room Vintner’s Collective, 1245 Main St. in Napa. There you can taste D-cubed Cellars current wines, and those of several other small wonderful wineries.
I am the current President of ZAP so be sure to check visit the ZAP website to learn about all things Zinfandel. It has the latest information on ZAP and the exciting events that are coming up including the 19th annual Zinfandel Festival so you can “Zin in Paradise”!
- The Beginnings
- I was raised in an agricultural family; my Dad was an accomplished beekeeper and my grandfather managed a fish hatchery. In high school I had some friends whose parents made wine in their cave (actually an old gold mine). We got together with another friend and started a 4-H project and entered the results of our work in the El Dorado County Fair Home Winemaking competition. We made Chenin Blanc and Grenache with must donated by Greg Boeger from Boeger Vineyards in Placerville. We also produced a Plum wine and a Blackberry wine, The Blackberry wine received “Best of Show”. This was the inspiration I needed to enter the enology program at The University of California, Davis.
- Path to Winemaking
- After graduating from UC Davis, I went to work as a cellar worker at Grgich Hills Cellars. There, alongside four other UC Davis graduates and Mike Grgich, I learned the critically important winery production processes for producing ultra premium wines. This was all about cleaning barrels, endless pump overs, lugging scores of hosing, racking wine and a multitude of additional chores that must be done to produce a fine wine. Grgich Hills was a great place to begin a winemaking career as I was surrounded by passionate, innovative peers and shown what it takes to build a great wine.
In 1989 I moved north, as cellar master to one of Napa Valley’s renowned Zinfandel producers, Jerry Seps’ Storybook Mountain. The move to a much smaller operation afforded me the opportunity to oversee nearly all production aspects at the winery. This four-year, Zinfandel-intensive tenure was incredibly valuable to my winemaking career.
The year 1993 brought me to Rombauer Vineyards where I began as cellar master but quickly rose to assistant winemaker. Because Rombauer also functions as a custom crush facility, (a facility where small wineries may bring their grapes to be produced into wine) it was a unique opportunity to work with a wide spectrum of varietals, winemaking styles and a multitude of respected winemakers.
In 1998 Frank Family Vineyards offered me the opportunity to be winemaker. I produced an amazing array of wine brands including Rombauer, Frank Family still and sparkling wines and many different boutique wineries. I could not have asked for a more broad and varied foundation from which to launch my own brand.
- D-Cubed Beginnings
- The opportunity to source and produce my own wine came in 1994 when several tons of the (not yet) super esteemed Black Sears Zinfandel was made available to me. Could anyone have asked for better grapes to start with??! While Ridge Vineyards was the first to source this once dilapidated vineyard, it was Turley Vineyards and D-Cubed who brought acclaim to its grapes. My premiere release was the blending of select Black Sears rows with other outstanding Howell Mountain vineyards (it is still one of my core productions).
In 1996 Brown Estate Vineyards, who produced their Zinfandel at Rombauer, asked me to be their winemaker and advisor for their new winery project. I believed their estate grown Zinfandel was of tremendous quality – Chiles valley vines that were passionately well farmed. I subsequently began purchasing grapes from different Brown Estate blocks that would ultimately go into the premiere production of my Napa Valley Zinfandel.
In the spring of 2002, I left Frank Family Vineyards to devote my efforts to D-Cubed wines and two vineyards that I consult for, Bravante Vineyards on Howell Mountain, and Brown Estate Vineyards in Chiles Valley.
My 4-H project beginnings evolved into a career of Napa Valley winemaking. For me, there is no other grape like Zinfandel, the most “California Styled” grape that begs to be drunk with merriment and smiles. Zinfandel has a unique mouth-feel, an intensity of fruit and an inherent element of fun not matched by other reds. With this in mind, D-Cubed Cellars produces it’s distinctly different Zinfandels: Napa Valley, Howell Mountain, Black Sears, Brown Vineyards, and Slaybaugh Ranch.
Progressive Zinfandel Thoughts: One of the coolest things is watching every one of these bottlings become a better wine each year. I attribute that to the fact that these select vineyards are simply getting better through consistent vineyard management and through the miles of muddy, rocky fields I walk year after year.
I will always concentrate on Zinfandel…aside from being my favorite grape; it’s just fun to drink! Zinfandel’s has a loose celebratory, raucous feel about it—not the serious, hushed tone of Bordeaux varietals. This varietal is a great grape to taste alongside other Zins to begin to understand regional, vineyard, winemaker and production variances. It’s a great evening when I can sit down with a bunch of friends and a handful of Zinfandels (including some of mine of course!) while we taste and evaluate the night away! Line ‘em up and try them!
My tasting room, The Vintner’s Collective in downtown Napa, gives everyone a place where they can come and taste my wines. We also have a release party each year after the ZAP Festival. I look forward to see you at one of these two tastings.