Cabernet Sauvignon

Hourglass 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: Blueline Estate and Classic.

One of the great things about wine is that everyone is constantly learning.  Today, I discovered an excellent, terroir-driven, Cabernet Sauvignon producer that I'd never heard of.  Hourglass Winery.  This luxury, small-production winery is located as the area where the Napa Valley "pinches" to its smallest point - hence the name.

First released in 1997, Hourglass Cabernet Sauvignon has held its own with the great "Cult Cabs" of Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle, but this was under Pride Mountain and Paloma superstar winemaker Bob Foley.  2012 starts the winemaking reign of Anthony Biagi - formerly of Duckhorn, Plumpjack, and Cade.

I visited Hourglass Winery at their Blueline Estate Facility for classes related to The Wine and Spirits MBA program, but also got an advance taste of the new 2012 Hourglass Cabernet Sauvignons.  Here is what I thought.

Hourglass 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 'Blueline Estate.'  "Dark red fruits and hard crushed stone. A low acid wine but with big serious minerality. A stone monster that is awkward now, but certain to mature into an austerely beautiful Napa Cabernet in 5 to 10 years."  94 points.  Approx Retail $125

Hourglass 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate.  "Smooth and complex. The classic Napa Cabernet story. This is chocolate cherry with a bloody meaty red fruit character with even more milk chocolate. Very culty. Lush and classic. Probably will improve with a couple years, but very few will let it get there."  95 points.  Approx Retail $165


Hourglass Cabernets aren't cheap.  Nothing in the Napa Valley really is.  But if, however, you want a small production, high-quality, estate-bottled, and terroir focuses wine from Napa, this is a heck of a good option.

5 Values in 2008 Bordeaux

There is a real chance that the 2008 vintage in Bordeaux is our last opportunity to get premium Bordeaux for under $100 per bottle.  It was a good quality vintage that was massively overshadowed by the glories that were 2009 and 2010.  At the time, the wines seemed quite expensive, but then the new Chinese wealth started flowing into Bordeaux and pushed prices into the stratosphere.  All the wines that I mention took a 200% or 300% increase in price for the 2009 and 2010 vintages.

Photo Mar 08, 1 08 30 PM.jpg

If you are in Ohio, please buy these wines from me at Walt Churchill's Market.  If you are elsewhere, support this blog by clicking 'Buy Online."  The wines are reviewed in the order that I tasted them: from lightest to richest.

Chateau Carbonnieux 2008 Pessac-Leognan Blanc.  $59.99 OH Retail.  "A delicious and easily findable Bordeaux Blanc.  A beautiful golden color.  Luscious aromatics of orange and lemon-infused honey.  Gorgeous richness of flavor and texture while never neglecting a serious commitment to acidity.  Long finish."  90 points.   Buy Online

Photo Mar 08, 1 24 43 PM.jpg

Chateau Grand Mayne 2008 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru.  $49.99 OH Retail.  "Dark crimson color for the only Merlot-based Bordeaux in the mix.  Smokey oak.  Dark red plum skins.  Sexy and sophisticated at the same time, but just when you think it is all hedonism, crushing powerful tannins drop on you."  93 points.

Domaine de Chevalier  2008 Pessac-Leognan.  $49.99 OH Retail.  "A beautiful red color.  Attractively classy in the purity of the red fruit.  It really keeps the hard stones of the appellation submerged - for now.  Minerals, red apples, and pleasant acidty.  Can easily be enjoyed now, but still has a long life ahead of it."  90 points.Buy Online

Photo Mar 08, 2 06 20 PM.jpg

Chateau Cantenac Brown 2008 Margaux.  $69.99  OH Retail.  "This wine changed dramatically over the five hours it was open.  It started a delicately, smooth interpretation of Cabernet Sauvignon, but moved quickly into becoming the wine I now describe.  Classic nose of black cherries and tar.  Tannics and young with a powerful grip that punishes you for opening a wine like this so young.  Still poised and graceful with black, blue, and red fruits.  Nice mouthfeel on a serious wine."  93 points.

Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2008 Saint-Julien.  $69.99  OH Retail.  "Red fruit in the dusty aromatics. A dark rich brooding wine with tight flavors and even tighter tannins.  Hard, cold, black fruits."  91 points. Buy Online

Okay, so none of these wines are inexpensive.  But you don't look to Bordeaux for inexpensive.  You look to Bordeaux for classically-styled wines of high quality, impeccable breeding, and reliable aging potential.  Value is a plus - if you can find it.  And you can find it in 2008 Bordeaux

If you want to learn more about Bordeaux and how Chinese money can drive prices dramatically upward - check out this phenomenal documentary called Red Obsession.