REVIEWS

The 2016 Hourglass Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of three contrasting vineyards and clones. The Larkmead Lane vineyard is on the same mineral rich alluvial gravel beds as our Blueline Estate, just down the street. As such, this site elicit a vibrancy and stony minerality akin to that expressed in our Blueline Estate reds. Crisp tangy Granny Smith apple with overtones of tropical fruits are the hallmarks of the vineyard. By contrast, the 47 year-old head-trained vines of the Varozza vineyard in St. Helena yield intensely rich, pure fruit with a distinctive white peach character. In 2016 we added Semillon from the famed Gamble Ranch in Yountville for more dimension, complexity and mid-palate texture. Between these vineyards and three fermentation techniques - stainless steel, seasoned oak and new oak - we make up to seven distinctly different wines then blend them to create a complex and layered Sauvignon Blanc that is both vibrant and rich. The 2016 vintage features 80% whole cluster press, 20% skin contact, 100% native yeast fermentation and no malolactic.

Primary aromas of lemon and lime zest, orange blossom and Granny Smith apples open to flavors of limeade, cut hay, white peach, pineapple and vanilla bean. Wet stone minerality from the Larkmead fruit provides a wonderful counterbalance and tension to the pure fruit expressions from the Varozza and Gamble vineyards.

WHY WE LOVE IT
  • BLEND
    96% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% semillion
  • APPELLATION
    Napa Valley
  • ALCOHOL
    14.50%
  • SIZE
    750ml
  • FERMENTATION
    80% whole cluster pressed, 20% skin contact
  • AGING/COOPERAGE
    Stainless Steel Tanks & Barrels (40%), seasoned oak barrels (50%), new French oak (10%)

Combining estate vineyards is nothing new or ground breaking—but in the case of Hourglass, those vineyards are anything but ordinary. Consider Varozza in the St. Helena AVA and its 47-year-old, head-trained Sauvignon Blanc—among the oldest in the appellation. And from Gamble Ranch, one of Yountville’s most historic and prized vineyards, comes intense Sémillon.

Honoring these distinct sites, Hourglass chose to ferment lots using three different vessels—stainless steel, neutral oak and new oak, which gave winemaker Tony Biagi a grand total of seven young base wines. Once blended, the end result is a lush, mouth-coating white with a bright burst of natural acidity and gorgeous notes of winter citrus and crisp green apple, thanks to zero malolactic and 80% whole cluster pressing of the fruit. Drink this full-bodied, zippy white with nearly any cuisine from spicy Asian dishes to simply prepared seafood.

·    The 2016 vintage saw the massive benefits of winter rain—after many years of drought. The early rainfall, combined with a warm, sunny spring and early summer brought in a healthy, large grape crop of Sauvignon Blanc throughout the Napa Valley.

·    Four prime vineyards go into the making of this refreshing white: Hourglass Estate, Larkmead Lane, Varozza and Gamble Ranch.

·    The terroir of all four of these Napa Valley vineyards consists of a highly specialized gravel-rich soil with veins of riverwash.

·    As is often seen in the Sauvignon Blanc-based whites of Bordeaux, this wine contains a small percentage of Sémillon (4%), which adds a nutty depth and fleshiness to the finished wine.

TASTING NOTES 

From the winery:

Primary aromas of lemon and lime zest, orange blossom and Granny Smith apples are followed on the palate with flavors of limeade, hay, white peach, pineapple and vanilla bean.

THE STORY TO KNOW

From the winery:

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.

PERFECT PAIRINGS

Pair this with fresh grilled veggies or a salad with a citus vinaigrette.