Jeff Ames is one of those winemakers who can do no wrong, in our estimation. He mentored under Thomas River Brown at Schrader, Maybach, Outpost and TOR before becoming head winemaker at TOR in 2005. Known for deep, hedonistic wines of impeccable balance (and incredible scores, for those keeping track) Howell Mountain terroir suits his style perfectly. Savory Estate is his home vineyard, a mere 1.3 acre patch planted by fellow icons David Abreu and Rick Forman. The project is a true labor of love for Jeff, who sold his first home in Napa to finance this dream come true. These days, Jeff oversees every move from vine to bottle with a boots in the dirt approach to the process that ensures each vintage meets his exacting standards.
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Savory Estate is the most complete of these wines from Jeff Ames. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, leather, licorice and lavender all open in the glass. The Savory Estate Cabernet shows the lighter structure of the year, but all that really does is make the wine accessible today. The 2017 is not a powerhouse, but it still packs plenty of Howell Mountain character and has tons of personality. I loved it.