94 Points Robert Parker: Containing splashes of Petit Verdot and Malbec, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Blueline Estate displays a medium to deep garnet-purple color and nose of red and black currants, black plums and tapenade with touches of cigar box and dried Mediterranean herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with exotic spices and earthy layers, framed by firm, grainy tannins and finishing with great length.
93 Points Wine Spectator: Notable for the richness, depth, density and mocha-scented oak notes, with the oak giving the texture a smooth landing strip. The flavors are fresh and lively. Best from 2020 through 2032.
Jeff Smith, August 2017: The aromatics are a mingling of dense fruit scents, with cassis and blackberry bramble, a hint of barrel toast and crushed graphite that echo on the palate. The mouthfeel is lushly textured, with a bright nervy minerality in the back mid-palate, a characteristic that defines our Blueline Estate wines. The tannins are sleek with a wide palate impression, and the wine has a long, arching finish.
21 months in new French oak
Opulence and richness are the hallmarks of 2015 vintage, and the Blueline Cabernet Sauvignon demonstrates this in spades. The Blueline Estate Cabernet Sauvignon has benefited more from Tony Biagi’s deft winemaking skill than any wine in our portfolio. 2015 represented the fourth year of California drought, replicating conditions of the mid-1970s. Some of those '70s vintages remain legendary for their classic structural core, likely a function of drought-induced small berry size, yielding exceptional longevity and freshness. The 2012 to 2015 vintages are playing out much the same. Though different in character, these four vintages share a depth of concentration, fresh fruit expression and tightly woven inner core.
Where the 2015 vintage distinguishes itself is in a greater level of saturated fruit expression. The 2015 wines are dense in color and mouth coating in texture. They possess more lush fruit than the 2013s and greater depth than the 2014s. As Winemaker Tony Biagi notes, “2015 is right behind 2013 in terms of quality. The previous three years of drought, coupled with a weak El Niño year with its dry spring, summer and early fall, has produced opulent, full throttle wines. The vintage reminds me of 2008, which also delivered opulent, forward wines.”
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.