We headed to Napa’s Howell Mountain AVA which produces some of the very best grapes for Cabernet Sauvignon. Our appointment was at Neal Family Vineyards, high on the mountain in Angwin and a bit tricky to find.
Alex Kefalos met us with glasses of the 2021 Rutherford Dust Vermentino (which we found to be excellent and a varietal you don’t often see in Napa Valley) and we started off on a tour of the vineyard property and the cave. The facility is gorgeous, state of the art, and attractively detailed with artistic metal work crafted by the owner.
Neal Family Vineyards grow grapes on their land on Howell Mountain and on the valley floor in Rutherford. All of their vineyards are organic and biodynamic. Mark Neal is the man behind Neal Family Vineyards. He’s a highly regarded Napa farmer who knows the land and vineyard management.
These days he must be pretty sought after as climate change is quickly altering grape growing and wine making. He has invented a trellis system that incorporates growing red and white grapes together. The red grapes are trellised to create an umbrella like covering for the white grapes which grow beneath. It’s one amazing solution for vineyards experiencing the rising temperatures.
The San Francisco Chronicle article is a good read about Mark Neal’s trellis system.
Relaxing at a comfortable table outside, we learned more about the Neal family and their wines while Alex poured us Cabernet Sauvignon. We tasted three all created with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes – the 2017 & the 2018 Napa Valley and the 2017 Howell Mountain. Absolutely lovely Cabs and we couldn’t resist heading home with the 2018 Napa Valley.
Thank you Alex for a great experience on Howell Mountain.
FYI – Olive oil is also made on the property and available to taste.