Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

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David H.
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Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#1 Post by David H. » February 3rd, 2020, 9:37 am

I’m considering making a Napa trip solely focused on Howell Mountain wineries.

Any recommendations on where to stay? Whenever we head up towards and through Angwin I don’t recall seeing any hotels.

Any thoughts on the general idea and hotel recommendations would be appreciated.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#2 Post by mattccheung » February 3rd, 2020, 9:42 am

We stayed downtown and got a driver for the day ($45/ hour). Once you get to Howell Mountain, there's limited reception and uber/ lyft. Easy to get up there but hard to come back down.

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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#3 Post by blarmston » February 3rd, 2020, 11:04 am

Maybe stay in Saint Helena? From there its only 15-20 minutes up the hill, depending on what estate you visit.

And love the idea- there is a multitude of varying wine making styles and terroir to explore up there. May I suggest CADE? Their estate is beautiful, with amazing views down the Valley on a clear day, and the wines are delicious (especially their Reserve)

Enjoy and please report back with a recap.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#4 Post by JFertitta » February 3rd, 2020, 11:25 am

Unsure of what you're looking for, but twice a year they do Taste of Howell Mountain. I went once, had a blast and got to taste the majority of the vineyards there. Great way to knock them out and from there you can plan which ones you want to visit and make some really good contacts.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#5 Post by J a y H a c k » February 3rd, 2020, 11:29 am

Call Chris Jambois at Black Sears. Tell him you are a Berserker. See if you can talk your way in. They have no tasting room and no organized events, BUT it's at the top of the mountain just beyond the "DO NOT ENTER" sign. My wife and I tasted in the office standing there with glasses of wine in 2011. We ave been buying everything they will sell us since. Outstanding wine, great vineyard and ask to see the caves they dug into the mountain that are used for elevage.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#6 Post by David H. » February 3rd, 2020, 11:40 am

J a y H a c k wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 11:29 am
Call Chris Jambois at Black Sears. Tell him you are a Berserker. See if you can talk your way in. They have no tasting room and no organized events, BUT it's at the top of the mountain just beyond the "DO NOT ENTER" sign. My wife and I tasted in the office standing there with glasses of wine in 2011. We ave been buying everything they will sell us since. Outstanding wine, great vineyard and ask to see the caves they dug into the mountain that are used for elevage.
I took your advice previously on this and it was one of the best tastings/visits I’ve ever had. Chris and the family are really great, wholesome people. Speaking of Black Sears, we enjoyed a 2006 Black Sears Estate red blend last night with a Prime Ribeye!
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#7 Post by Andrew Demaree » February 3rd, 2020, 6:35 pm

Reach out to Mike Lamborn. He’s a super nice guy, a warm host, and will pour three delicious wines for you to try in a laid back setting. You won’t regret it.

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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#8 Post by Jim F » February 3rd, 2020, 9:02 pm

J a y H a c k wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 11:29 am
Call Chris Jambois at Black Sears. Tell him you are a Berserker. See if you can talk your way in. They have no tasting room and no organized events, BUT it's at the top of the mountain just beyond the "DO NOT ENTER" sign. My wife and I tasted in the office standing there with glasses of wine in 2011. We ave been buying everything they will sell us since. Outstanding wine, great vineyard and ask to see the caves they dug into the mountain that are used for elevage.
As Jay said. And, most other HM wineries will require advance reservation also; who do you like?Make your plans, get a driver and go. St Helena is a good starting point, but you could stay anywhere, e.g., in napa city area also....just allow the extra time.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#9 Post by Brian Lynch » February 4th, 2020, 6:43 am

I’d second Rutherford and a driver. I had no signal last month on the Mountain.

I’ll also suggest visiting Tom Altemus at Red Cap Vineyards. Excellent Cabs from volcanic soils on a westward facing slope. He also supplies the fruit for J Davies Red Cap, which Galloni reviews in the 94 range. Super nice people and one of the best price points for high quality mountain fruit.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#10 Post by Dustin Cochran » February 4th, 2020, 7:23 am

Calistoga or St Helena would be good bets for a hotel - the brand new four seasons in Calistoga opens this summer.

Just spent a day up in Howell Mountain myself - check out Haber, they don't officially do tastings...but you can arrange one. Also Neal Family is really good and amazingly priced!

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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#11 Post by mmoyer » February 4th, 2020, 10:25 am

Checkout Arkenstone, Cimarossa and of course Outpost.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#12 Post by Randy Bowman » February 4th, 2020, 7:35 pm

After you see the prices of the hotels, check the Bed & Breakfasts from Yountville north to Calistoga. Sometimes they are better fit, plus the service is personal, not corporate.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#13 Post by Brandon Y. » February 4th, 2020, 8:31 pm

Stay anywhere between Rutherford and Calistoga and getting to a day of tastings on Howell Mountain is really no big deal at all (just bring lunch). We've stayed everywhere up and down the valley (usually Airbnb), and never found getting to Howell Mountain or the top of any of the other mountains to be a big deal, even from downtown Napa. I guess maybe we're just weird in that we don't mind driving around the valley at all. I find it relaxing, so 30-40 minutes of a drive is no big deal to me. If you find a place to stay near Angwin, you'll be close to your tastings, but not much else. It's just personal preference, but I prefer to drive to an area for tastings from late morning through mid-afternoon, but then have my lodging somewhere near restaurants and other activities for the evenings.
Andrew Demaree wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 6:35 pm
Reach out to Mike Lamborn. He’s a super nice guy, a warm host, and will pour three delicious wines for you to try in a laid back setting. You won’t regret it.
Agree, Mike is as good as they come, but unless something has changed recently, they haven't been able to do regular tastings up at his house for quite some time (Napa crackdown on who can do tastings).
Last edited by Brandon Y. on February 6th, 2020, 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#14 Post by Andrew Demaree » February 4th, 2020, 10:02 pm

Wasn’t aware of that, Brandon, as we haven’t visited since 2015. That’s a real a loss for both sides.

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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#15 Post by M. Taylor » February 5th, 2020, 8:16 am

We like St. Helena because it is a good central location. It will be easy to get to Howell Mountain from there

I second the recommendation for Arkenstone. We've been buying from them for a few years, and finally visited last August. Nice people, good wine, and an interesting facility (high-tech custom crush operation).
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#16 Post by Anton D » February 5th, 2020, 8:37 am

Pretending this would be my own trip:

La Jota. Absolutely under-appreciated iron fist HM wines, I love them. (I have visited in the distant past, not sure of current policies.)

Dunn will taste and tour if you contact them.

Retro is the Dunn of Petite Sirah.

Three wineries is usually my daily limit, so I will stop there with these listed as my top priorities.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#17 Post by Jeff_M. » February 5th, 2020, 9:44 am

Howell Mountain has really gained a lot of bottles in my collection the last two years.

I would start any trip to Howell Mountain with O'Shaughnessy. Great tasting and tour there. The collection in their wine cave is really awesome to see. Great wines

Outpost is a good stop for tasting with great views as long as the sun is shining.

I have yet to taste at Dunn but do know they have week day tastings only. The wine there is absolutely amazing. Its on my to do list for my next Howell Mountain visit.

Red Cap. The tasting is in Tom Altemus' home. This is a great personal touch when tasting.

Robert Craig. They have a downtown tasting salon but you can get a tasting on the mountain if you schedule in advance. Another very well priced wine that ages well.

Neal is another interesting stop. Well priced wines and they're made to lay down for quite a while.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#18 Post by Rich Brown » February 5th, 2020, 11:24 am

Anton D wrote:
February 5th, 2020, 8:37 am
Pretending this would be my own trip:

La Jota. Absolutely under-appreciated iron fist HM wines, I love them. (I have visited in the distant past, not sure of current policies.)

Dunn will taste and tour if you contact them.

Retro is the Dunn of Petite Sirah.

Three wineries is usually my daily limit, so I will stop there with these listed as my top priorities.
Nice lineup Anton - I'd drink at Howell Mountain with you anytime!

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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#19 Post by David H. » February 6th, 2020, 9:39 am

Sorry for disappearing from the thread.

A big thank you to all for the many recommendations of areas to consider staying and to visit. Definitely a few recommended that we’ve visited but many new wineries to consider.

My better half will be excited that St. Helena is a good home base as she absolutely loves the area.

Thank you all for the recommendations and please keep them coming.

One other ask, anyone on the mountain doing interesting things with white wine?
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#20 Post by F.Daner » February 9th, 2020, 6:09 am

David- If VRBO/Air BnB is an option there are some nice spots on or near Dear Park road right off of the Trail. We've stayed there with friends at different properties and loved the location. You can shoot up the mountain or down the trail to other areas easily and 10 minutes or less to St Helena. If it's just you and your wife then take a look at this place https://black-rock-inn-st-helena.booked.net/. If you're a Marriott Rewards member and have points or want to splurge the new Las Alcobas resort in St Helana is beautiful.

I would expand beyond Howell wineries unless this is a quick trip but my choices for HM would be:

Robert Craig- book the tasting at the winery. I love their HM cab and their wines if you join the club are probably some of the best values right now in Napa. You'll also taste the Veeder, Diamond, Spring etc. I think you can also bring lunch to RC as well.
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Unfortunatley as mentioned Lamborn can no longer taste at the proporty but they are in the RH room in Yountville.

If you stay on the trail then you're also close to Forman, Seavey and Mending Wall. DiCostanza and Myriad share a tasting room in St Helena as well.

Cheers
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#21 Post by Bud Carey » February 9th, 2020, 10:00 am

Fred... I may be wrong, but I think Myriad has moved their tasting room to Yountville.
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#22 Post by Andrew A r n t f i e l d » February 9th, 2020, 11:50 am

Anton D wrote:
February 5th, 2020, 8:37 am
Retro is the Dunn of Petite Sirah.
Literally. 👍🏻
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#23 Post by JohnP » February 9th, 2020, 1:10 pm

Anyone try Castiel Estate?
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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#24 Post by Andrew Demaree » February 9th, 2020, 1:17 pm

Andrew A r n t f i e l d wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 11:50 am
Anton D wrote:
February 5th, 2020, 8:37 am
Retro is the Dunn of Petite Sirah.
Literally. 👍🏻
Except stylistically. Retro makes delicious Petite Sirah, but it’s approachable early, not something you need to cellar for a decade or two to enjoy.

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Re: Howell Mountain focused Napa trip

#25 Post by Andrew A r n t f i e l d » February 9th, 2020, 1:53 pm

Andrew Demaree wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 1:17 pm
Andrew A r n t f i e l d wrote:
February 9th, 2020, 11:50 am
Anton D wrote:
February 5th, 2020, 8:37 am
Retro is the Dunn of Petite Sirah.
Literally. 👍🏻
Except stylistically. Retro makes delicious Petite Sirah, but it’s approachable early, not something you need to cellar for a decade or two to enjoy.
+1

I most recently drank a 2010 Retro Howell Mountain that was freaking delicious, but I’ve also opened the 2012 and 2013 in the past 9 months and they were also excellent. Mike Dunn does great things - both at Retro and Dunn.
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