2019 The Flag Cabernet Sauvignon
94 pts, James Suckling | 94 pts, Wine Enthusiast
Introducing a new Cabernet Sauvignon made from the select blocks and barrels that represent the pinnacle of wines Bell Mountain Vineyard produces. The Flag is named in honor of Ames’ great-great-grandfather, John Gilson Howell, who owned and published the Russian River Flag newspaper in Healdsburg in the 1860-1870s. This wine epitomizes the bedrock of the idealism and commitment to preserving Bell Mountain and the peak of wines this land produces for generations. To honor the wine and our history, each bottle is adorned with the reprint of the original publisher’s editorial on the first edition that Ames’ great-great-grandfather printed on November 19, 1868.
The inaugural 2019 vintage of The Flag offers powerful aromas of blackberry, coffee bean, and cocoa powder with supporting notes of fresh herbs, walnut, and lavender. On the palate, the wine provides a dense juicy core surrounded by silky, velvety tannins and shows flavors of currant and fennel, followed by a long, lingering impression of concentrated wild berries.
2019 offered nearly ideal growing conditions. A warm spring with some later rainfall set us up for good early season growth, which was followed by a moderately warm summer that lasted well into October without any severe temperatures or untimely rainfall. These conditions allowed for a classic vintage.