Robert Craig Winery
On top of old Smokey! Now that I have your attention and you have the lyrics in your head, it is really on top of Howell Mountain. Located at the very top at 2,300 feet elevation, Robert Craig Winery has its production facility and estate vineyards. For those less adventurous a spectacular tasting room is located in downtown Napa, the Robert Craig Winery Tasting Salon.
Their entire production is 10,000 cases with 50% being dedicated to their award winning Affinity Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. I met with Elton Slone, President and CEO and Stephen Tebb, winemaker for Robert Craig Winery. Elton provided in detail the history of the winery for the last 30 years. Elton, who is the managing partner, now at the helm shared his vision and reinvestment into the business to bring to market his passion for old world wines to the new world of Robert Craig Winery. He Stephen are working hard to bring to forth individual site expression into the wine. They offer, besides Affinity (a true Bordeaux), specific appellations like Spring Mountain, Mt Veeder, and Howell Mountain. Stephen has who has been producing wine for Robert Craig for the last eight years appears to thrive on mountain fruit. The scores for their 2013 Afffinity have been 93+ pts, 2012 Howell Mtn at 95 pts and 2013 Howell Mtn coming in at 95+ points from Robert Parker. These are balanced big reds with tamed tannins, acids with just enough push to allow for a fruit forward tasty wines. Here is one view of the Howell Mountain vineyard with Spring Mountain on the other side of the Valley.
Elton and Stephen explained the low yields on the various mountains where they gather their fruit. Howell Mtn for example typically produces only 1.8 tons per acre and Spring Mtn with only 2.1 tons. That stated, the Howell Mtn fruit can have massive amounts of tannins, as high as 1400 compared to Valley coming in around 1200. So in their 2013 Howell Mtn Cabernet Sauvignon they introduced 12% Merlot to “round off and soften” the wine. On this one, they hit the bullseye! Their Mt Veeder which got the 95+ points from Parker, unfortunately goes to Club Members only—A good incentive to join!! Stephen is making solid handcrafted wines.
Here is where the magic happens on Howell Mtn, their production facility. The building on the left is the production facility and on the right is a cozy location for tasting wine.
If you are looking to add to your cellar or want a full body wine to drink, their remarkable wines are more than worthy of your consideration today. In the very near future, they will soar to be one of the premium wines of Napa Valley. Their trademark “Cabernet Sauvignon Elevated” is beyond the topography of the vineyards – it is all about quality wine.