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Behrens & Hitchcock Ink Grade Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 1999

Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • RP95
  • WS91
0% ABV
  • RP95
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Inkgrade (300 cases of 15.1% alcohol) has an opaque purple color, an intense, very fragrant nose of creme de cassis, smoky new oak, mineral, and almost floral-infused blueberry and blackberry notes. The wine is unctuously textured, with the new wood totally absorbed. Acidity and tannin are also beautifully integrated. This wine should be relatively accessible upon release, and last for up to two decades.
Range:92-95
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Deep ruby. Aromas of blackberry, minerals, licorice and herbs. Big and broad in the mouth, with inky blackberry and mineral flavors. A full (15.1%), dense cabernet, finishing with chewy tannins and a note of eucalyptus. "We had a heat spell and some dehydration before the harvest," noted Behrens, "and the sugars shot up."
Range:89-91
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Behrens & Hitchcock

Behrens & Hitchcock

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Behrens & Hitchcock, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
Image of winery
A basement, in Humboldt County, outfitted with just two dairy tanks, was the humble beginning of this winery. Of this tiny, dug out space, Les assured Joe Bob that, "We have all the room we will ever need."

However, the roots of Behrens & Hitchcock are found in Folie Douce, the award-winning restaurant Lisa Drinkward and Les Behrens launched in 1991 in Arcata, California. While Lisa was developing an incredible, French-inspired menu, Les was busy cultivating a superb wine list and cellar which eventually received the Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence. In the course of creating the wine list, Les met many winemakers and received encouragement from several to begin making his own wine. The idea, which seemed almost nonsensical at first, quickly began to take root in Les' mind.

As customers of Les' frequent wine tastings at Folie Douce, Joe Bob and Lily Hitchcock learned of Les' winemaking idea and that Les was trying to raise the startup capital. Almost immediately, the wheels began to turn in Joe Bob's mind. If Les was really crazy enough to make wine, Joe Bob thought he just might be crazy enough to join in the venture. Joe Bob's background in business management - both in the corporate world and more recently as a business consultant and tax preparer - was the perfect complement to Les' winemaking. Joe Bob became General Manager of the winery and, together with Lily, handled the finance and administrative side of the business while also jumping into much of the "dirty work" of making wine under Les' winemaking direction.

The inaugural 1993 crush produced 175 cases and was indeed a labor of love. The two families quickly developed into a team dedicated to the common goal of making small batches of high quality red wine. Over the next three years, the winery expanded to 750 cases per year and took over a new building at Les and Lisa's home as well as a lot of Joe Bob and Lily's house which was used for case goods storage.

In August of 1997, they decided it was time to give up their day jobs and move the winery from Arcata to the Napa Valley. They rented a winery east of Napa where the winery grew even larger to 3,500 cases, but something was still missing. What they really wanted was a winery of their own. After looking at every winery, shack and vacant acreage available in the Napa Valley, they finally found their home on top of Spring Mountain. Les designed the winery, and together with his son, Sean, and lots of helping hands, built the winery in possibly record time as the 1999 harvest was only a few months away. The 1999 crush took place in an incomplete facility with only a generator for electricity. There have been significant additions, including two caves, as production expanded, but this always-under-construction winery, with their crazy dog and beautiful views, continues to be the beloved home of their passion for making small batches of handcrafted wines.

Napa Valley

Red Wine

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Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Although George Yount planted the first vineyard in the valley in the mid-1830s, and land under vine increased over the next 130 years, it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that Napa Valley began to show the world its ability to compete—and win—against other esteemed regions of the world. The victory of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1976 Judgement of Paris, followed by Robert Parker’s 100-point perfect score awarded to the Groth 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon brought much deserved acclaim to the valley.

Though Cabernet Sauvignon undoubtedly still dominates Napa Valley in every way, covering half of the land under vine, commanding the highest prices per ton and enjoying plenty of recognition, other red varieties certainly thrive here as well. Important but often overlooked include Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded for single varietal wines or for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel still exists in the valley and in its mountain appellations, representing an important historical stronghold for the region. Pinot noir can be produced but mainly in the cooler southern parts of the valley close to the San Pablo Bay.

What makes Napa such an amazing place for the production of red wines? Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season. This action leads to a diurnal temperature shift ideal for the even and slow ripening of its grapes. Furthermore the valley and its more mountainous sub appellations claim over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.

ARP251233_1999 Item# 251233