Reflecting the fabulous 2012 vintage, Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon 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.
This outstanding vineyard site on the Rutherford Bench has yielded grapes for many celebrated Napa Valley wines since 1880. The current vines were planted in the well-drained alluvial soils in 1992 and 1996 and budded to Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 7 and 8 for flavor diversity and concentration. Hewitt Vineyard has the advantage of being close to the Mayacamas Mountains for sloping elevation, but not so close that the vines are shaded in the afternoon.
The relaxed, high-quality 2012 harvest was a winemaker’s dream. The ideal growing season—well-timed rains, no frost during budbreak, and perfect weather for bloom, berry-set and ripening—was textbook Napa Valley. Long stretches of sunny days coupled with foggy nights gave our 2012 wines exceptionally rich, expressive flavors and impeccable balance. We had no weather pressures from either pending rains or excessive heat to rush the harvest. Instead we had the luxury of waiting until the grapes reached absolutely perfect maturity.
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. A portion of the must was 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. Three rackings during barrel aging naturally clarified the wine, and after blending, we bottled this perfectly balanced wine without fining.