Arkenstone Vineyards

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain

2011 Offering
Premiere Napa Valley
Auction 15 | Lot No. 73
Vintage: 2009

Arkenstone Vineyards


Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain

5 cases produced


Each vintage up at Arkenstone, we bring in our separate estate blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec during harvest, and ferment and age them separately for a year. Then we create our optimum vintage blend. However, at blending time, we find that our components are pretty stunning by themselves and we often think, “Wow, this component is awesome! What if we blended it with a bit more of this or a bit less of that?” Well, for Premiere Napa Valley we get our chance to do just that! This year our Cabernet Franc was our vintage “wow!” so we decided to do a Right Bank, Cabernet Franc-forward blend. This 2009 PNV blend is quite different from our proprietary Cabernet blend (Obsidian), but elegant, well structured and a lot of fun in its own way.

Aging Process


Wine Facts

  • Organically produced (also commonly called "organically grown")
  • Wine is 100% estate grown and bottled

Sam Kaplan

Winemaker, Arkenstone Vineyards

Winemaker, Sam Kaplan

Sam Kaplan
Winemaker, Arkenstone

Arkenstone Winemaker Sam Kaplan has been making wine for over two decades in Napa Valley. All roads seemed to lead to Napa since his childhood in Oklahoma. His physician father made wine in the family garage, with fruit from their home vineyard, and grapes from the Napa Valley via train, with Sam stomping grapes and sampling the finished product at meals. Sam went to Lewis and Clark College in Portland thinking he was going to become a doctor, but a stint living with a wine-loving family while studying abroad in Spain gave him second thoughts. Sam grew captivated by wine culture and its powerful ability to bring people together. A key point in Sam’s life came while visiting a winery in the Willamette Valley. Walking into the winery cellar that day, the smell of fermentation overwhelmed him, sending chills down his spine. It was a pivotal moment. The intensity of aromas brought him back to his childhood, made him feel instantly at home, and cemented the realization that he was destined to pursue a career in wine. Sam ended up with a Religious Studies degree and a job offer at Gary Andrus’ Napa Valley property, Pine Ridge. His instinct was to get a formal wine education, but Gary–now his mentor–convinced him to learn on the job, by farming and working harvests. Sam’s first full time role was at ZD Wines, where he learned the ropes and worked his way from the bottom up. He met his wife Nancy there, who worked on her off days to expand her palate as a Michelin star chef. In 2006, the opportunity of a lifetime came knocking in the form of a winemaker role at what would become Arkenstone Estate and he helped to shepherd what would bethe very first vintage to be released from that year. Sam helped design the Howell Mountain project from soup to nut with owners Ron and Susan Krausz and continues to oversee the day-to-day farming and winemaking for the estate ensuring seamless integration from farming to fermentation to bottle. His signature style embodies the Arkenstone winemaking philosophy, which is based on consistency and elegance. Sam’s wines quickly became legendary for their depth, complexity, and balance. In addition to his full-time role at Arkenstone, Sam also serves as winemaker for Napa Valley’s Memento Mori, Vida Valiente, Vangone Estate, and MAXEM, the wine label he started with Nancy. Since it’s very fist 2006 vintage, Sam has been, and continues to be, a critical part of the Arkenstone story. When he isn’t making iconic wine, he’s traveling, fly fishing with Max and Emma, exploring new recipes with Nancy, farming their garden, or blending artisan gins for his famous martinis.

Country born: United States

Education: BA, Lewis and Clark
Enology coarsework at UC Davis and Napa Valley College

Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years

Winemaking Philosophy:
My goal is to highlight the specific vineyards and bring balance and focus to the wines. I make wines that are approachable upon release, yet are very age worthy.


1532 E Street
Napa  CA  94559


Premiere Napa Valley Wine Collection

Winery Vintage Variety Appellation Fanciful Auction
Checkerboard Vineyards 2010 Red Wine Napa Valley Bear Hollow 16
TEXTBOOK 2010 Red Wine Oakville OMG it's good (but don't tell anyone it's Merlot) 16
Arkenstone Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Estate 15
Davies Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District Jack's Block 15
Levy and McClellan 2009 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley 15
Jones Family Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14
Judd's Hill 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Friends at Harvest / Lot 15 14
Krupp Brothers 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Two Bald Heads Cuvee 14
O'Brien Estate 2008 Cabernet Franc Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley 14
Sterling Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley Three Palms Vineyard 14
CONSTANT 2007 Cabernet Franc Diamond Mountain District 13
Diamond Terrace 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Two Mountains 13
Laird Family Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville 13
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