Haber Family Vineyards is owned by Ron Haber and his wife and partner Sue-Marie. Their first release was the beginning of August, 2009. We initially met Ron and Sue-Marie at their first California tasting in mid 2009. This was at the Taste of Howell Mountain where they were pouring a barrel sample of their estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This was still an unfinished wine of course, but we truly enjoyed it and made a follow up visit to their vineyards, high on Howell Mountain.
Ron is a native New Yorker and Sue-Marie is from California. Ron has enjoyed fine wines for many years and made a number of trips to the Valley before eventually moving here. He was involved in his family business, W&W Glass Systems in New York City for many years until selling and “retiring” (although although he is still involved and working full time). It was during a wine dinner that Ron was running in New York where he met the owner of Napa’s Clos Pegase Winery, Jan Shrem (as well as Dr. Mark Cohen, the owner of Howell at the Moon Winery.) They soon became friends and over the past several years they have advised Ron in a number of aspects of the wine business.
The Haber’s located a small property on Howell Mountain that was not yet planted to grapes – in fact there are currently no commercial vineyards planted in the immediate vicinity although just up the road there are some stellar vineyards (Lail, Ladera). The Haber’s soon planted vineyards and today have almost 3 planted acres. Their vineyard is entirely planted to Cabernet Sauvignon to a variety of clones. The vineyard is meticulously managed by one of the oldest families in the valley, the Pina’s (Pina Vineyard management – also owners of Pina Winery). Ron enjoys “mountain” grown wines and the focus of Haber Vineyards is on single varietal non blended hillside grown wines.
As of the time of this review they produce two hillside wines (both very different from each other), a Diamond Mountain 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and their estate, also 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2006 and 2007 vintage are at Cuvaison and the 2008 and this year’s crush will be at Bin To Bottle in South Napa. Timothy Milos is their winemaker (Bounty Hunter, Black Coyote, Rubissow, Howell at the Moon).
The 2006 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon will be their first wine released. This wine saw 85% new French Oak during its aging and was bottled un-fined and unfiltered. This is a big intense mountain wine both in flavor and structure. It is dark in the glass with blue fruit aromas including blueberry. The nose also shows notes of cedar and toasted oak. The palate displays complex rich flavors throughout including dark fruits – black cherry, black currant with some herbal characteristics. The finish is very long. This is a good wine to decant now – and with good acidity, fruit and structure certainly has excellent aging potential.
The 2007 estate Howell Mountain is a wonderful wine; it is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and at that time of our tasting was still in barrel. Their estate vineyards were planted in 2004 and 2005 and this is wine from the “3rd leaf”, i.e. the first real year of the vine’s production. It is a wine that has come a long ways in a relatively short time and will only continue to improve by the time it is released to the consumer. In contrast to their big Diamond Mountain vintage this wine is already fairly soft and smooth and quickly coming into balance. It has a layered delicious core of fruit from start to finish including plum and red cherry. Hints of vanilla and toasted oak round out the palate with fine grained tannins providing a broad pleasing finish.
Note the label – it is a tribute to both Ron’s family glass business and the terroir where their vineyard is planted; the image on their bottles looks through a window at night onto Howell Mountain which rises above the valley fog. They are currently working on distributing in select states and will be found at several wine shops and restaurants in the Napa Valley. They expect the bulk of their sales will be by direct mail as there is only 380 cases of the Diamond Mountain release and under 50 cases of the first Howell Mountain release. They also have a mailing list for direct sales. Visit: www.haberfamilyvineyards.com
NOTE: this review has been identified as needing an update.