2011OShaughnessyCS2011 O’ Shaughnessy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley.
Sean Capiaux’s O’ Shaughnessy 2011 Howell Mountain Cabernet is a glorious and stunning achievement in a difficult vintage, and it show’s the great terroir that is Howell Mountain, I must admit, I was a tad biased by my own disappointments with this vintage, but this wine surpassed all my expectations and found it to be truly worthy in everyday. I get lots of complaints and comments about my lack of enthusiasm for this tough and extremely cool year in Napa, and while I say there were lots of fantastic wines made (in 2011), lots that I bought for myself even and that I love and enjoy, but overall is was a struggle and there were many wines that lacked charm, depth and pleasure, this wine by O’ Shaughnessy happily was not one of those and is a real impressive bright spot in my journal, it seems one of the most complete wines of the vintage and a great example of balanced winemaking. The 2011 Howell Mountain, at 14.4% alcohol, is not light weight or lean, it possesses opulence and deep color and flavors, but is not an overblown wine, it feels restrained, complex, poised and has nice firm tannin structure that provides control and remarkably elegant framework for this wonderful and stylish Cabernet. Capiaux really has done an amazing job here at O’ Shaughnessy, not just for this beautiful wine, but every vintage he has crafted up here, these are superb high quality wines, and he continues to dazzle with his own label Pinot Noirs as well, he deserves much credit for his grand achievements over the years, and he seems to get better as time goes on. The 2011 O’ Shaughnessy Cabernet Savignon Howell Mountain starts with a deep hue of black/garnet and a bouquet of mulberry, violets, smoke, spice and vanilla leading to an earthy palate of blackberry, cassis/currant, plum, blueberry tang and dark cherry fruits with hints of red spice/pepper, sweet tobacco leaf, woodsy notes, pencil lead/mineral tones, licorice and mountain herbs, finishing with fresh cut cedar plank, minty black fruits, polished French oak shadings and a tad of espresso and new leather, with Bordeaux like intensity. The aftertaste is very pleasing leaving a linger fruit notes and a touch of sweet baking spice, this is fine and classy Cabernet from a talented winemaker and a special location, this compares well to Dunn and other classic hillside wines, best to decant and enjoy with a hearty meal, drink from 2015 to 2020. There are many successes from this vintage, but it will take extra care and effort to discover them, though it will be very rewarding, especially when you find gems like this one!
($80 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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