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Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2011


Product Description

"Dense core of blackberry, Satsuma plum, black Bing cherry and cassis reveals gorgeous notes of bittersweet chocolate, violet, sarsaparilla and forest earthiness. The firm entry turns plush on the expansive midpalate, while balanced acidity brightens the intense dark-fruit flavors. Warm caramel and mocha notes from new French oak barrels permeate the inviting aromas, richly textured flavors and lengthy finish. The long hangtime of 2011 slowly ripened and softened the grape tannins, making this wine marvelously approachable, yet cellar worthy. With elegance and suppleness from the persistently cool 2011 growing season, this Cabernet Sauvignon captures the award-winning character of Hewitt Vineyard. Best from 2014 to 2024." - Winery

100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% French oak (70% new barrels) for 23 months.

Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is a single-vineyard, limited-edition wine that highlights the character of our estate without overwhelming it. We harvest the grapes at peak maturity, ferment them for optimal extraction, age them slowly in new French oak and bottle without filtration.

The site that is now Hewitt Vineyard was first planted to vines in 1880, when Dennis Hanrahan bought the parcel bordering Gustave Niebaum’s Inglenook (now Rubicon Estate). The Hanrahan Ranch survived Prohibition by shipping grapes east to home winemakers. In 1962, William A. Hewitt, head of Deere & Company (John Deere), bought the vineyard and replanted it to Cabernet Sauvignon with the help of famed wine master André Tchelistcheff.

"We select only the best fruit to go into Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon," says Rinaldi. "I get to select the exact rows I want from our spectacular vineyard."

The inaugural release of Hewitt Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was the 2001 vintage. It's a fleshy, well-integrated and subtle wine. "We already have plenty of in-your-face wines," says Rinaldi. "I want a more polite wine, one that is neither aggressive nor abrasive. You get tired of all the undisciplined, over-the-top Cabernets. Ours is a complex, intellectual wine, one that requires a little effort to uncover and fully appreciate."

Although the wine is usually 100-percent Cabernet Sauvignon, blending is still an important part of the picture. "One of the most interesting things you learn as a winemaker is that you don’t have to introduce other grape varietals to benefit from blending," explains Rinaldi. "The great thing about Hewitt Vineyard is that its 58 acres deliver an exciting range of flavor and quality."

In 1992, in response to the threat of phylloxera, Bill Hewitt began upgrading the vineyard by replanting to Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 7 and 8 on five different rootstocks (5C, 5BB, 1103-P, 110R, and 039-16) as part of an experiment to identify which performed best on this site. With a variety of clones, rootstocks and soil conditions, Rinaldi can bring different elements to the wine, giving it great depth and intriguing personality.

"Tasting in the vineyard is key," says Rinaldi. "When those plum, tobacco and olive characters are there in the grape, they'll be there in the wine, too."

At the winery, the grapes are destemmed without crushing, so that nearly 30 percent of the fruit goes into primary fermentation as whole berries. In addition, grapes go through two days of cold soaking prior to fermentation. "It's pretty much straightforward Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking," Rinaldi says, "only with extensive skin contact to extract rich characters. Thirty to fifty days is our range, and you can really tell how much the wine can take by tasting it."

The vintage: The persistently cool 2011 vintage decreased yields in Napa Valley, but the remaining grapes ripened slowly, achieving delicious flavors and ripe tannins from the long hangtime. For the second consecutive year, Napa Valley's harvest was one of the latest on record. A wet winter and spring continued into mid-June, causing shatter during bloom and reducing the crop. While produced in small quantity, Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 proves that this temperate vintage produced many exceptional wines with excellent structure and flavor complexity. 

Region: Napa Valley, California, USA
Type: Red
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

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