94 Points, Wine Spectator
“Pure, rich, smooth and elegant, packing a wallop from dark berry,
licorice and mocha-shaded oak. Elegant and refined, ending with
a long, layered aftertaste that echoes oak, crushed rock and dark
licorice notes. Drink now through 2034
.” - James Laube
Howell Mountain rises just to the northeast of Beringer’s winery in St. Helena, and Bancroft Ranch lies at an elevation of 1,800 feet on the western slope of the mountain. The soil here—gritty white tuff of volcanic origin—is shallow, infertile and extremely well drained. The vines produce small, intensely flavored berries with powerful, concentrated fruit flavors and thick skins that yield robust tannins. Bancroft’s forward fruit demonstrates the classic Cabernet flavor of ripe, sweet black currant.
The 2014 vintage offered an ideal growing season. Although California’s drought brought another dry winter the growing season started with a warm, dry spring and relatively early bud break. Summer was mild and consistent with even, warm temperatures. Throughout the Napa Valley the season was even and tempered with no heat spikes or early rain. Warm days with plenty of sunshine and cool evenings allowed for excellent ripening, phenolic and flavor development in the grapes. Overall, vintage 2014 wines are of very high quality.