Overview of the Wine
We first discovered, and were irretrievably drawn to this unique property in the late 1980’s. For over 20 years we have shared the beauty and mystery of Arkenstone with bear, coyote, mountain lion, rattle snake, scorpion and raptors of all sorts (as well as voracious grape eating wild turkeys). Remnants of native obsidian work, as well as walls made of local stone built during the 1800's, are constant reminders that we are just the latest inhabitants to appreciate and benefit from this land.
Our serious interest in wine and our families’ farming history perhaps made it inevitable that we would think about planting vineyards here. We knew we did not want to clear the site for an “industrial” vineyard but didn’t know whether the effort required of farming the small patches of open space using sustainable practices could be justified. Then, in early 1995, a good friend of ours, who grew up in a Napa Valley wine family and founded her own label, encouraged us. She arranged for an expert who consulted for top vineyards all over the world to come to the Napa Valley to evaluate a number of potential vineyard sites. He included Arkenstone on this visit. Test holes were dug, and on a cloudy wet day we tramped around the property talking about dirt, drainage, exposures, air movement, and, most importantly, the promise of the site. His conclusion was that wine grapes of very high quality could be produced here, and that Arkenstone was indeed a special site. We didn’t then know to say “terroir” but understood that the grapes and the wine from these vineyards could over time become a recognizable expression of our site, climate, farming and winemaking. We decided to make this promise a reality.
Grape / Blend
72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 3% Malbec
Napa Valley, California
Winemaker Tasting Notes
The Arkenstone Obsidian consists entirely of fruit from our Howell Mountain Estate. This environment results in concentrated and intensly flavorful berries. This profile is expressed in the wine by robust earthiness, minterality and an intensity of fruit that is not found anywhere in the valley. The wine has a depth and balance that lead to age ability, but also, under the care of Sam Kaplan's winemaking skills, can be appreciated upon release.
94 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Proprietary Red Obsidian Estate is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 3% Malbec from their estate vineyards. It is aged 22 months in 90% new French oak and is one of their larger cuvées of 720 cases. This is also an impressive, but backward wine with a dense purple color, loads of crushed rock in the nose of blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with white flowers, licorice and forest floor. It is multidimensional, full-bodied, pure, dense and will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, while keeping for 20-25.
93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Estate Obsidian is the estate cuvee (from Howell Mountain, not to be confused with Obsidian Vineyard) and offers a ripe, sexy style in its blackberry and currant fruits, white truffle, and chalky, dried earth aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, nicely balanced, with ripe, polished tannin, solid mid-palate depth, and a great finish, it can be drunk anytime over the coming 15-20 years.
93 Points - James Suckling
A linear and finely crafted red with iodine, berry and currant character. Some chili powder, too. Medium to full body, fine and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Give it three of four years of bottle age. Try in 2021.
Product size: 750ml
From a private seller.