Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hess Collection Napa Valley Allomi Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Hess Collection Napa Valley Allomi Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

We tasted this wine by the glass over lunch at Sweetwater Tavern and Grille on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This smooth approachable easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon was a nice compliment to the Rigatoni Pasta with italian sausage, tomatoes, basil, peas, goat cheese, tomato cream sauce, where normally a more moderate varietal wine would be more applicable, due to its softer more approachable style, over a cabernet.

Previously, this wine was recommended by colleague Matt M when traveling and dining together on a recent trip.

We first visited the Hess winery with its art museum exhibits back during our Napa Wine Experiences in the late eighties but we bypassed it during our in-depth Mt Veeder appellation Napa trip last year.

When one thinks of Hess, one naturally thinks of that property up on Mt Veeder on the southwestern side of Napa Valley where their winery and many of their vineyards sit high above the valley. So it was surprising to discover this Hess vineyard designated label from the Allomi vineyard in the rolling hills of of the opposite northeastern Napa Valley at the lower reaches of the backside or eastern face of  Howell Mountain.

We learned from our visit to Viader during our Howell Mountain appellation trip to Napa that the demarcation point between Napa Valley and Howell Mountain appellations is at 1200 feet of elevation due to the fog layer that rises to but tapers off there.

According to the producer, the 210-acre vineyard is composed of 35 blocks of six different clones that add a diversity of flavors to the blend.

This wine exhibits dark purple color, medium bodied, nicely polished, pleasant easy drinking in this moderate priced cab, it has nicely integrated current and berry flavors with a layer of spicy sweet cinnamon and cedar with tones of mocha and sweet oak on a smooth fine grain tannins on the moderate finish. Its represents a reasonable value on sale in the $22 price range.

RM 88 points.

Blend - 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Petit Verdot

Aged 16 months in American oak (25% new)