With its incredibly saturated color, aromas and flavors, Double Plus epitomizes the complex character of Hewitt Vineyard. The 2012 Double Plus is nicknamed the “gentle giant”; with its powerful, yet tamed, tannins and dense layers of ripe, wild blackberry and crème de cassis, with violet, sage and vanilla-oak nuances. Molasses, vanilla and hazelnut lace the persistent, dark-fruit finish. The developing Hewitt wine-lots are tasted during fermentation and aging, our favorite barrels are marked with a plus sign and the most exceptional barrel with a double plus. And then, through repeated tastings over three to four months, we find the perfect blend. It’s how the wines ‘play together in the sandbox’, as well as the individual character of each barrel.
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% whole berries. Then 60% 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 four rackings during barrel aging.
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.
The relaxed, high-quality 2012 harvest was a winemaker’s dream. The ideal growing season—well-timed rains, no frost during budbreak, and perfect weather for bloom, berry-set and ripening—was textbook Napa Valley. Long stretches of sunny days coupled with foggy nights gave our 2012 wines exceptionally rich, expressive flavors and impeccable balance. We had no weather pressures from either pending rains or excessive heat to rush the harvest. Instead we had the luxury of waiting until the grapes reached absolutely perfect maturity.