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Hourglass Blueline Vineyard Merlot 2013

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WE93
  • RP92
  • WS91
15.4% ABV
  • RP94
  • RP93
  • JD93
  • RP92
  • WS94
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15.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Explosive aromas of warm, yeasty blackberry cobbler, Asian spice, plums and chocolate nibs lead to flavors of blackberry, plum, hoisin sauce and hints of our Blueline Estate Vineyard's telltale crushed stone minerality. The texturally silky flavors surround a firm structural core. The finish is rich and expansive, balanced by a band of refreshing acidity and vibrant minerality, translating to a wine of great contrast. Amazingly approachable now, it promises graceful aging, with continued evolution for 3 to 5 years and a sustained peak for many years after that.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
So rich it tastes like chocolate, this ambitious and lavishly oak-influenced wine pulls out all the stops to achieve maximum flavor impact. It smells full of baking spices and savory herbs, tastes very ripe, concentrated and feels lush and creamy in texture. While full bodied, it has plenty of firm acidity and lots of fine tannins to stand up to all that flavor. It's ready to enjoy now through 2020.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Merlot Blue Line has 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Malbec included in the blend. It comes from a vineyard near Switchback and exhibits terrific purity, lush, ripe strawberry jam and black cherry notes along with some mocha and chocolate. Dense purple, plump and corpulent, it is a total hedonistic turn-on to drink over the next decade.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Focused and sleek, with aromas of red currant and tomato leaf leading to elegantly complex flavors of plush cherry, mocha and spice. Tannins sneak in on the finish. Drink now through 2021. 1,100 cases made.
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Hourglass

Hourglass

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Hourglass, Napa Valley, California
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Hourglass wines represent a cutting-edge, modern Napa Valley winemaking style. Ned Smith bought the property in 1976 and his goal quickly shifted from fruit trees to his favorite wine, Zinfandel, with the lofty hope of supplying grapes to local wineries in exchange for finished wine. The land was eventually taken over by son Jeff Smith. In 1992, Jeff enlisted his family friend - and former rock band cohort - Bob Foley as winemaker for their new venture. Like so many aspiring guitarists, Bob had kept his day job over the years, making wine and garnering countless accolades and rock-star status for such labels as Robert Foley Vineyards, Switchback Ridge, Pride Mountain, School House and Paloma. Bob continues to make all the Hourglass wines and has the deep purple-stained hands to prove it. The calluses, however, are as much from guitar playing as his meticulous cellar work. Then, Hourglass's inaugural release came with the 1997 vintage, a seminal Napa vintage by many critics' standards.

With the christening of the winery at Blueline and its distinct single-varietal wines, Hourglass has entered an exciting new phase of its evolution. A brand synonymous with terroir-driven, modern Napa wines of the highest caliber, its goal is and will always remain the same: To capture the essence of two of Napa Valley's most expressive vineyard sites in bottled form, and to have the honor of sharing them with you and your families for decades to come.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

SOU382620_2013 Item# 145816