99 Points - JamesSuckling.com
*#33 on James Suckling's Top 100 Wines in the World 2018* “This is a fabulous young wine with aromas of blackcurrants, moss wood and oyster shell. Black olives, iodine and lavender, too. Full-bodied, very tight and poised with fantastic tannin integration. Seamless texture at another level. Drink in 2022.” - James Suckling, May 2018
96+ - Wine Advocate
"Very deep garnet-purple in color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Double Plus is youthfully mute, revealing mocha and blackcurrant cordial notes intermingled with notions of tobacco, earth, roses and beef drippings plus a touch of bay leaves. Big, full-bodied, concentrated and profound, it has a solid backbone of grainy tannins framing the tightly wound black fruit and earth layers, finishing long and chewy. Give this one a good 5 years in bottle and drink it over the next 25+. 184 cases were made." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2017
This is an extraordinary wine with incredible depth and richness. It is powerful and seductive with a voluptuous body and plush texture which highlights the ideal 2014 growing conditions for this year’s Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon Double Plus. There is no mystery why this wine consistently is a favorite among wine critics; it has a very enticing, alluring nature. The 2014 vintage fostered an elegant character, revealed in this wine’s highly saturated opaque color, intense aromas and layered flavors. Double Plus epitomizes the complex character of Hewitt Vineyard with a dark, brooding expression of wild blackberry, blackcurrant, black plum, with hints of espresso and mountain sage. Dark chocolate, black licorice, and graphite aromas persist through the intensely lengthy finish. Thirty-three percent of the wine was fermented in small barrels, which rounded out the Double Plus’s powerful tannins, thus enhancing the wine’s opulent texture and structure.
Sourced from the 60 acre Hewitt Estate Vineyard, this wine is composed of a barrel selection of the very finest parcels from this prized winegrowing land. Typically, only one or two special barrels are selected from at least two or three vineyard blocks that consistently produce the most exceptional fruit. The wine is renowned for showing impeccable balance, supple tannins and highly concentrated flavors. Hewitt Vineyard is tucked against the Mayacamas mountain range on the Rutherford Bench which provides ideal sun exposure and slope, promoting even ripening, while the well-draining alluvial soils allow the vines to root deeply, providing additional complexity and flavors. The current vines in the Hewitt Vineyard were planted from 1992 – 1998, and consist of Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 7 and 8 for flavor diversity as well as a small percentage of Petit Verdot.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated grapes and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall up from low to adequate, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak in spring and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook the valley on August 24. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s ripe, flavorful grapes. The perfect weather throughout harvest fostered intense, beautifully balanced and expressive wines.
The grapes are hand sorted on tables two times: first as clusters to remove any leaves or inadequate fruit and then, after destemming, as individual berries. This gentle process retains about 70 percent whole berries. Then 33 percent 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, and 45 days of total skin contact, helped to develop the rich varietal character. During in-barrel malolactic fermentation, a bâtonnage (or gentle lees stirring) occurs to meld flavors and round out the acidity. Finally, the wine is clarified with one or two rackings during barrel aging, and then bottled without fining.