Clif Family Winery

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2015 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Release

Article by Winemaker Laura Barrett


In November of 2014, I began this new journey as Winemaker for Clif Family. I spent the early part of 2015 getting to know our Estate vineyards. We brought on a new vineyard consultant and management team and began to further fine tune field practices. Harvest was a wild success and, though yields were low, the quality was superb. I began making decisions on how to build these wines and best differentiate the two sites. With careful fermentation management, cooperage selection and keen senses, I crafted my first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon for Clif Family. Now, three years and five months later, I am thrilled to be announcing their release to you.

As we begin tasting these Howell Mountain Cabernets, I want to highlight an exciting new wine coming to our Cima Club. This release marks the inaugural vintage of our Block Designate wine – two barrels from a single block within our Estate. This offering will release exclusively to our Cima Club members and will not be available on our website or in our tasting room. I am excited to show off these Spring releases and the first of my 2015 Cabernets.

2015 Croquet Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Croquet Vineyard. I selected just 6 barrels (150 cases) that best represent the site as a blend. Chocolate covered cherries, blueberry, ripe plum and cedar spice. This is a big wine with powerful tannin structure, great acid balance on the mid palate and a long, powerful, fruit filled finish.

2015 Erta Cabernet Sauvignon – Just two barrels (50 cases) selected from the Erta block on our Cold Springs Vineyard, this wine is 100% clone 4 Cabernet Sauvignon. The block was named by Kit and Gary, our owners at Clif Family, for a steep ride that they cycle in the mountains of Italy. It was chosen for its structure and Bordeaux character. Blueberry pie, chocolate, cassis, violets, cedar and earth. Powerful and rich on the palate, this wine has well integrated acidity that will support long cellaring and dynamic food pairings. As big as it is, the Erta also has an elegance and finesse that shows off its purity and sense of place.

Laura Barrett

May 2, 2018