Hourglass was created by Ned Smith in 1976, who loved making Zinfandel from this property. In 1992 his son Jeff Smith took over the land and business and enlisted Robert Foley as his winemaker. They started Hourglass 2.0. by making Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc from this amazing property. Jeff since purchased what is now the Blueline Vineyard as well. Since the estate only produces a very small amount of SB some longterm contracts were signed as well. As of a couple of years, Tony Biagi (formerly with Spottswoode) has taken over the winemaking reigns at the winery.
Hourglass 2016 Merlot “Blueline” Napa Valley
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Winemaker Notes: “The ashen soils of the upper bench of the estate, where Merlot is planted, are not typical of Merlot vineyards. Almost completely devoid of clay (very common for Merlot vineyards), these porous, mineral rich, nutrient poor soils yield incredible drainage leading to springtime water deficits, which result in a very small berry size. Smaller berries yield greater concentration/richness in the wines and firmer tannins. The resulting soils also impart a noticeable minerality, creating greater vibrancy to bring the density and richness alive.”
Owners Notes: The 2016 Blueline Estate Merlot follows the defining thread of the vintage—supreme balance. The signature aromatics of mandarin orange peel and Asian 5 spice, are interlaced with a mineral graphite and a band of high tone rose petal. As Tony notes, “The 2016 is a hybrid of the ’12 and ’13 vintages. The bright aromatics and red fruits of ’12, and the darker fruit and structural elements of ’13.” The texture has a firm spine with a tight structural core, surrounded with a layer of silky fruit. Crème de cassis intermingles with dark sour cherry and an intriguing note of Asian hoisin. Deep and rich, yet alive with energy. A very complex layering of delicious fruit, wired with bright natural acidity and vibrant minerality. The finish is long and expansive. Amazingly approachable now, but it has the tannin and structural stuffing to age gracefully for a decade, or more.”
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