This single-vineyard bottling showcases the stellar fruit of Hewitt Vineyard on Napa Valley’s Rutherford bench. We harvest each vineyard section separately, as it reaches full ripeness, and adjust our winemaking to its character. Partial fermentation in new French oak barrels integrates tannins and develops plush texture. A high percentage of new French oak barrels complements the intensity of dark-fruit flavors. Beef tenderloin, lamb chops, braised short ribs, grilled Portobello mushrooms and aged hard cheeses are only a few possible pairings with this deeply flavored, full-bodied wine.
Barrel Aging: 23 months, 100% French Oak (77% New Barrels)
Varietal Composition: 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot
*Ranked #4 on Top 100 Wines of 2013, Highly Recommended* "Deliciously pure, rich and deep, featuring tiers of spicy red berry, blackberry and red and black licorice flavors, with pretty wilted rose scents and a long seamless finish that slowly reveals an underlying tannic grip." - James Laube, September 2013
“Harmonious is the perfect word to describe the 2010 Hewitt Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Winemaker Tom Rinaldi. Fabulous layers of ripe blackberry-and-black currant jam, dark Bing cherry and satsuma plum saturate the aromas and flavors. Nuances of bittersweet chocolate, rum-raisin (a classic Hewitt terroir expression) and violet (from Petit Verdot) add complexity. The unctuous dark-fruit flavors linger on the finish, intermingled with hints of toffee, toasted almond and coconut from new French oak barrels. Vibrancy from balanced acidity and structure from muscular, integrated tannins complete this graceful, plush-textured wine.
Hewitt Vineyard was planted in the well-drained soils of this renowned spot on the Rutherford Bench in 1992 and 1996 and budded to Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 7 and 8 for flavor diversity and concentration. In 2010, as each small section reached optimum ripeness, we hand harvested the grapes at dawn. According to Tom, the Hewitt vines were perfectly balanced in 2010, with ideal fruit-to-leaf ratio. This factor contributed to the grapes’ very even ripening and excellent maturity levels.
Napa Valley's 2010 vintage will be remembered as having a notably cool growing season, with the latest onset to harvest in several decades. "Summer's cold nights, dipping to the 40s and 50s, really set the grapes' deep colors, flavors and balance," Tom explains. The growing season got off to a late start when cold, wet soils in March and April delayed budbreak. The above-average rainfall and cool temperatures persisted into May, followed by a mostly cool, foggy summer that slowed fruity maturity. But just as we started worrying that the grapes would never ripen, Mother Nature surprised us with heat spells to boost the grapes' flavors and sugar levels. Tom reports that the grapes' quality was "as good as it gets."
We hand sorted the grapes 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 60 percent whole berries. Tom fermented a portion of the must in new French oak barrels to integrate the tannins and enhance the plush texture of the wine. Cold soaking before fermentation and extended skin contact developed the rich varietal character. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded acidity, four rackings during barrel aging naturally clarified the wine, and we bottled this perfectly balanced wine without fining.