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Hartwell Sunshine Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
  • WE93
0% ABV
  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

1997 was a spectacular vintage right from the beginning, with the new year bringing ferocious, flooding rains, then softening to one of the earliest Springs in recent memory. Warm, bright weather throughout the growing season brought us the rare good fortune of a plentiful harvest of exceptional quality. This highest-quality Cabernet Sauvignon was made from selected blocks of our hillside Sunshine Vineyard. The wine was aged in 100% new French oak for 22 months in the perfect storage conditions of our new hillside cave, gaining richness and concentration all the while. The finished wine is a perfect balance of power and grace, with strong black cherry and cassis flavors supported by vanilla and cocoa tones. The texture is soft and elegant. Approachable upon release, this wine is yet young, and will continue to improve with age for the next 5-6 years.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
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Hartwell

Hartwell

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Hartwell, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
Hartwell Vineyards winery is located in the Stags Leap District of the Napa Valley and produces some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in California. This wine is produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Merlot is also grown, produced and bottled on the Hartwell Estate. Bob abd Blanca Hartwell believe that if you grow the best grapes you will make the best wine.

Stags Leap District

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Legend has it that quick and nimble stags would escape the indigenous hunters of southern Napa Valley through the landmark palisades that sit just northeast of the current city of Napa. As a result, the area was given the name, Stags Leap. While its grape-growing history dates back to the mid-1800s, winemaking didn’t really take off until the mid-1970s after a small but pivotal blind tasting called the Judgement of Paris.

When a 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon won first place against its high-profile Bordeaux contenders, like Chateau Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Haut-Brion, international attention to the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley escalated rapidly.

The vineyards in this one-of-a-kind wine growing region receive hot afternoon air reflecting off of its eastern palisade formation. In combination with the cool evening breezes from the San Pablo Bay just south, this becomes an optimal environment for grape growing. While many varieties could thrive here, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate with virtually no others, save for a spot or two of Syrah.

Stags Leap soils—eroded volcanic and old river sediments—encourage well established root systems and result in complex, terroir-driven wines. Stags Leap District reds have a distinct sour cherry and black berry character with baking spice and dried earth aromas, and supple tannins.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

RBKHRTSUNSHN97_1997 Item# 29065