This outstanding vineyard site on the Rutherford Bench has yielded grapes for many celebrated Napa Valley wines since 1880. The current vines were planted in the well-drained alluvial soils in 1992 and 1996 and budded to Cabernet Sauvignon clones 4, 7 and 8 for flavor diversity and concentration. Hewitt Vineyard has the advantage of being close to the Mayacamas Mountains for sloping elevation, but not so close that the vines are shaded in the afternoon.
We hand-sorted the grapes on tables twice: first as clusters to remove any leaves or inferior fruit and
then, after destemming, as individual grapes. A portion 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 before fermentation, followed by extended skin contact, developed the rich varietal character.
Bâtonnage (stirring) during malolactic fermentation in the barrel rounded acidity and softened the
tannins. Three rackings during barrel aging naturally clarified the wine, and after blending, we bottled
this perfectly balanced wine without fining.
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.
Our 2014 Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon is a powerful and dense wine, with phenomenal texture and
opulence on the palate. The expansive aromas and flavors exude sumptuous blackberry, black cherry,
bramble berry and cassis, layered with nuances of rum raisin, roasted espresso bean and crème brûlée.
There are also hints of anise and an elusive chaparral note that reminds us of an August hike in the golden
California hills. This wine is multi-dimensional with incredible layers, depth, persistence and complexity.
This is a wine that truly exemplifies both the personality of Hewitt Vineyard and the outstanding 2014
vintage. Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon is very age-worthy, however, if you can’t wait to drink it, we
suggest decanting to allow the flavors to evolve and reveal their great complexity and elegance.