Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
As fifth generation Hess family, Tim and Sabrina consider themselves stewards of the brand and the land. When Donald Hess came to California in the 1970s, he was attracted to California wine and became fascinated with Mount Veeder. Although few in Napa Valley were cultivating vines at elevation, Donald Hess believed the volcanic slopes of Mount Veeder provided the ideal combination of soils and microclimates to yield elegant wines with rich, complex flavors.
A pioneer by nature, Donald Hess was determined to defy convention and pursue winemaking at elevation, so in 1978, he established The Hess Collection Winery on the site of one of the region’s oldest wineries. He took the opportunity to marry his two creative passions in life—wine and art—and he established an art gallery within the winery as a means of sharing his private art collection. Donald Hess and his wife, Ursula, met through their shared love of art, and today, Ursula’s daughter, Sabrina, and her husband, Tim, continue the family legacy of sharing wine and art and the family’s ongoing commitment to making both accessible to all.
Tim and Sabrina have chosen to call the Napa Valley their home. Tim was raised in Southern Africa and Europe, Sabrina raised in Switzerland and London, but the Napa Valley is where they have found their true calling. They strive to impart their own influence on the winery and support state-of-the-art innovations. Together, they continue to advance The Hess Collection as one of the premier family-owned and family-led companies in Napa Valley, and they are hopeful that someday their children too will carry on the Hess family heritage.
Centered at the peak for which it is named, Mount Veeder is Napa’s largest sub-AVA. But even though the entire appellation spreads over 16,000 acres, vineyards cover a mere 1,000. Scattered among Douglas firs and bristlecone pines, Mount Veeder vineyards extend south from the upper elevations of the Mayacamas Mountains—the highest point at 2,400 feet—to the border of the Carneros region. Less than 25 wineries produce wine from Mount Veeder fruit.
Winemaking began early in this appellation. In 1864, Captain Stelham Wing presented the first Mount Veeder wine to the Napa County Fair; it came from today’s Wing Canyon Vineyard. Prohibition, of course, halted winemaking and viticulture wasn’t revitalized until the founding of Mayacamas Vineyards in 1951 and Bernstein Vineyards in 1964.
The Bernstein Vineyards was actually home to the first Petit Verdot in California, planted in 1975. Today most of the Petit Verdot in Napa Valley originates from this vineyard.
Rocky volcanic clay and ancient seabed matter dominate Mount Veeder soils—perfect for Bordeaux varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot enjoy spectacular success. These varieties produce wines rich in brambly blackberry and black cherry fruit with herbal and floral aromatics. Structures are moderate to assertive and wines have great staying power.
Chardonnay from Mount Veeder is lush, full and balanced mineral and fresh citrus flavors.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.