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2015 Hourglass HGIII
Current Vintage Overview
2015 represented the fourth year of California drought, replicating conditions of the mid-1970s. Some of those '70s vintages remain legendary for their classic structural core, likely a function of drought-induced small berry size, yielding exceptional longevity and freshness. The 2012 to 2015 vintages are playing out much the same. Though different in character, these four vintages share a depth of concentration, fresh fruit expression and tightly woven inner core.
Where the 2015 vintage distinguishes itself is in a greater level of saturated fruit expression. The 2015 wines are dense in color and mouth coating in texture. They possess more lush fruit than the 2013s and greater depth than the 2014s. As Winemaker Tony Biagi notes, “2015 is right behind 2013 in terms of quality. The previous three years of drought, coupled with a weak El Niño year with its dry spring, summer and early fall, has produced opulent, full throttle wines. The vintage reminds me of 2008, which also delivered opulent, forward wines.”
The 2015 HG III follows the characteristics of the vintage with its rich opulence. Approachable at the pull of the cork, explosive aromas of black cherry, blackberries and Hoisin mingle with elevated notes of roasted hazelnut and cedar for a seductive perfume. The sensation of blackberry jam, ripe plum and cola nut carry forward on the palate with a mouth coating depth and trailing finish. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a cadre of Italian Mixed Blacks represent the “III” of HG III: Merlot for a sleek and supple mid-palate, Cabernet for core structure and extended finish, and a secret sauce from the Mixed Blacks for depth and layering. An unmistakable hint of dark chocolate yields a richness that complements the pure black fruit character, while the mouthfeel is decidedly lush.The blend finishes strong with expansive, lingering notes.
There is ample core structure for this wine to age, but by design it delivers at the pull of the cork. Why get complicated? Cook up a bowl of pasta or grill a steak, fill a glass and enjoy life!
~ Jeff Smith, May 2017