Tasting Notes

2016 Totem

These grapes are grown specifically on the east side of Howell Mountain which is a world renowned region in Napa. Because of its altitude, evening temperatures are warmer and daytime temperatures are much cooler—leveling out spikes in heat that tend to be more exaggerated at lower elevations.

Although it gets nearly twice as much rainfall as the valley below, the soil tends to be dry, because rocky, porous soil conditions allow for adequate drainage and less accumulation. Seasonally, cooler spring temperatures cause buds to break later than average, and warm summer nights produce fruit that demonstrates a great balance between acidity and sugar. All of which, translates into a rich diversity of complexity and flavor in your glass.

Because both soil types found here (Volcanic ash and red clay) are nutrient poor, they stress the vines, producing intense wines from small clusters and berries. In the end, the altitude, and thin, rocky, and dry soil conditions create wines with firm structure, incredible varietal intensity, and excellent aging properties. It is a very labor-intensive field to harvest, as the terrain is too difficult to maneuver any type of equipment.

The grapes that come off the vine are the size of peas… tiny in size but so concentrated in flavor. This means that it will have a higher skin to juice ratio, which translates to the flavors being more concentrated.

The 2016 Totem is part of YMV's ongoing efforts to make the most exceptional wines possible. Careful harvesting and extended maceration through fermentation make this offering particularly distinctive, as do the inky black color, mouth-filling viscosity and total harmony between fruit and oak. This is a wine of outstanding character and quality and meant for longevity. It is incredible now, but can also be cellared for many years to come and saved for a special occasion.

Totem 2016 saw 4 years in 100% brand new French oak.

2016 Totem bottle

Technical Information


100% Howell Mountain, Napa, CA


95% Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone SEE (also known as the “Disney” clone) 5% Napa Merlot



Harvest Date:

October 2016


December 14th, 2021

Cases Produced:


Good to Know

  • Totem is Bob's "legacy" wine… something he could pass down through the generations of his family. In sticking with the OTT (over the top) theme we have at Yonah, Bob wanted the absolute best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes we could get our hands on.
  • You won't get bitter or astringent flavors with Totem because we used a "free run" process. This means you only catch the juice that free flows out of the press without actually using pressure from our press. The remaining "pressed" portion makes its way into our Genesis.