Hewitt Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley
The historic Hewitt Vineyard resides on the famed Rutherford Bench, a narrow ribbon of gravel-rich alluvial soils on the western side of the Napa Valley that has - since the late 1800s - produced California's best Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Hewitt Vineyard produces only estate Cabernet Sauvignon from this extraordinary fifty-eight acre vineyard. The 2010 vintage was the #4 wine on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list and there was barely a bottle to be had. This 2012 is an outstanding effort, capturing the award-winning character of the Hewitt Vineyard. Grapes were hand sorted on tables twice: first as clusters to remove any leaves or inferior fruit and then, after destemming, as individual grapes. This gentle process retained about 70 percent whole berries. A portion of the must is fermented in new French oak barrels to integrate the tannins and enhance the plush texture of the wine. Three to five days of cold soaking before fermentation, followed by extended skin contact, developed the rich varietal character. Bâtonnage (stirring) during malolactic fermentation in the barrel rounded acidity and softened the tannins. Four rackings during 21 months of barrel aging naturally clarified the wine, and after blending, the wine was bottled without fining. Reflecting the fabulous 2012 vintage, this Cab offers abundant, complex dark-fruit expression; ripe tannins and impeccable balance. Its yin-yang qualities of being powerful—yet refined, soft and approachable—speak to the terroir of Hewitt Vineyard and gentle winemaking. The wine’s dense core of blackberry, Satsuma plum, black Bing cherry and cassis reveals gorgeous notes of bittersweet chocolate, violet and sarsaparilla. The firm entry turns plush on the expansive midpalate, while focused acidity brightens the intense dark-fruit flavors. Warm ginger, hazelnut and mocha notes from new French oak barrels permeate the seductive aromas, opulently textured flavors and broad, lingering fruit finish. Limited!