2013 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
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.
Aromatically, the traditional markers of camphor and mint are there, but melded against black licorice, tobacco and a faint and attractive wood smoke. The ’13 Hourglass is dark and brooding with less red fruit aromas than previous vintages and more pure black fruit – blackberry, cassis and currant. An earthy dark soil minerality of the iron rich Hambright bedrock runs through the aromatics and finishes across the palate, lending an umami sort of richness against the pure black fruit. The texture is broad and deep with a long arching finish. 2013 was a big tannin vintage across all our red wines, but deep well integrated color was achieved, capping the more reactive tannin. This leads to a well-knitted, classically structured core giving a glimpse into its significant aging potential, yet the color-capped tannins are “sweet” and texturally silky. Savory black fruits (currant, cassis) are layered outside the core to provide a soft flesh, which makes the ’13 approachable as a young wine. A deep richness is evident, yet restrained against the tensional pull of a nervy natural acidity and the earthy minerality, providing both lift and a layered density. The extended finish allows for a long afterthought. This wine is wonderful now (we recommend several hours of decanting to unlock extra layers of aromatics and flavors) and will cellar beautifully for 20 or more years. It should gain more exotic nuances of cedar, tealeaf and cigar box as it approaches year seven from the vintage date. In all, one of the finest vintages of Hourglass we have yet produced.
~Jeff Smith, January 2016
2012 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2009 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2001 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
2000 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
1999 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
1998 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
1997 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon