93 Points -Robert Parker: The 2015 Merlot Blueline Estate is 82% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec. This is a big jump up from the 2014 – a sexy lush fruit bomb with plenty of white chocolate, espresso bean, background oak and loads of black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with a nice chocolaty edge. This is a sexy beast to drink over the next 10+ years.
93 Points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Merlot Blueline Estate is another beauty offering notable opulence and texture while staying balanced and pure. Currants, black cherries, smoked earth and spice-box all flow to a full-bodied, ripe, layered Merlot that has the class to keep for 15 years or more.
81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 1% Cabernet Franc
17 months in 73% new French oak
Merlot from the Blueline Estate continues to amaze us! The ashen soils of the upper bench of the estate, where the Merlot is planted, are not typical of Merlot vineyards. Almost completely devoid of clay (very uncommon for Merlot vineyards), these porous, mineral rich, nutrient poor soils yield incredible drainage leading to Spring time water deficits that result in very small berry size. Smaller berries yield greater concentration in the wines and firmer tannins. The 2015 Merlot follows the trend of past releases, but is true to the vintage. This wine is dark and brooding, akin to the 2008 vintage.
Yeasty blackberry cobbler, Asian spice, and exotic Mandarin Orange peel, with a touch of graphite, defines its aromatics. The ’15 Merlot is explosive with rich dark fruits (blackberry, dark sour cherry, crème de cassis) and an intriguing note of Asian hoisin. Deep, rich and ripe, with a very complex layering of luscious fruit. The texture has a rounded suppleness, yet there is a firm spine from Cabernet to tighten the structural core and add a trailing finish, which is long and expansive. Amazingly approachable now, The ’15 Merlot has the stuffing to age gracefully and could outrun common assertions of age-ability for Merlot. It should hit its peak in the next 3 to 5 years, and will deliver for many years after.
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.