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2013 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Anthony Biagi
Jeff & Carolyn Smith
The Chilton & Clark Families
Vineyard Designation
Blueline Estate
Soil Series
Gravelly Cortina River Wash
Calistoga, Napa Valley
85% Cabernet, 9% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec
Barrel Program
21 months in new French oak

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Other Vintages

Current Vintage Overview

2013 constitutes the second year of California’s current drought cycle, replicating conditions of the mid 1970’s. Some of the mid ‘70’s vintages remain legendary for their longevity and freshness due to the wines’ classic structural core. As we learn more about the fascinating chemical nature of wine, we are coming to the understanding that ageability is related to structure. That good “tightly knitted” structure is a function of a relationship between tannin and color, and that the tannin/color relationship may take some hormonal cues from soil conditions, especially soil moisture availability. If true, this certainly would explain the great vintages of the mid 70’s and why we are so excited about a series of great vintages between 2012 and 2015. This may also explain why rocky well-drained vineyard sites have long been coveted as the premiere sites. Wine is complex, and there are no doubt other factors at play, but it appears that drought has at least one silver lining.        

2013 was a very dry, warm vintage, but the abnormally cool nights (a must for great vintages) allowed for development of phenolic compounds at levels that our winemaker, Tony Biagi, has never seen in 20 years of winemaking. “With so much phenolic mass in the grapes I had to be careful with how I extracted during fermentation.The mistake of over extracting in 2013 had a high probability if you weren’t careful. Aggressive early pump-overs to free up color and then quickly rolling into very gentle macerations at the peak and end of the fermentation allowed us to avoid the massive tannins that could have been problematic. That said, by the end of harvest I was convinced 2013 was the best vintage I’d ever experienced.  Tannin and color levels were high and at proper proportions, leading to wines with great structural integrity. The cool nights also preserved acidity and fruit freshness, despite deep extraction of rich flavors. It’s sort of a best of both worlds scenario.”   

If all of this sounds a little technical, suffice it to say we believe this to be one of the greatest vintages we have witnessed in our 17 years making Hourglass wines and one that should rival the best of the mid 1970’s.  

Tasting Notes

A cascade of aromatics starts with a bright floral note (T rose oil) in the bridge of the nose, then descend through a mingling of cassis and blackberry, with a hint of barrel toast and crush graphite. A sense of ying yang defines the 2013 Blueline Estate Cabernet. One of the most deeply concentrated vintages of Blueline Cab we have crafted, yet exhibiting a strong presence of nervy minerality in the back mid palate, providing lift and brightness to counter the overall richness. An incredibly tight weave of refined tannins hold the center core firmly in place, while wrapped with a lush exterior of black fruit. Blackberry bramble and cassis are infused with a crushed stone character that brightens the richness across the palate and lingers for a long arching finish. 

~Jeff Smith, January 2016

Other Vintages

2014 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon