2006 Misté Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Napa Valley: Stags Leap District
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Mission Codename: Play Miste For Me, again
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of an exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon from Harwell Vineyards,
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hartwell Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Miste Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Benoit Touquette & Michel Rolland
Backgrounder: The Stags Leap District (and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar) in Napa Valley because world renown in 1976 after the Judgement of Paris (see the movie Bottle Shock), when in a blind tasting the Cabernets from here outperformed the best from Bordeaux’s rive droite. While the folks in Rutherford and Stags Leap argue about who makes the best Cabs in Napa, us Wine Spies are the ultimate beneficiaries as we get to enjoy vintage after vintage, each often times better than the preceding…
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet, with an inky heart of black cherry juice. The wine shows off a lively surface that seems to bounce around when swirled. After the wine settles, skinny, branching legs start high up on the glass.
Smell – Richly aromatic, with bold blackberry and black cherry that leap from the glass. These combine with blueberry, cocoa powder, cassis, red plum and toasty oak. Underneath, hints of dark spice and tobacco leaf are present.
Feel – Grippy and cool at the front palate, then drying and mouth-filling, as the wine seems to expand in your mouth, with minerals and soft spice.
Taste – Complex, robust and delicious, with bold flavors of blackberry, black cherry, cassis and cocoa. The wine is integrated with additional layers of dark spice, plum, soft oak and fresh blueberry.
Finish – Long and full, with ripe black fruit and spice that dwindles slowly. After the fruits fall off, spice and soft oak persist.
Conclusion – The 2006 Miste Hill Cabernet Sauvignon the third successive vintage of this fantastic wine that we have had the great fortune to showcase. Today’s wine is just what we expected, given our experience – and a bit more. This 2006 is more robust than past vintages, with bolder and more focused flavors. Decant for optimum results and be sure to cellar a few bottles for the next few years. The wine is ready to drink now, but we know that it will only continue to improve with proper aging. Pair with grilled meats and your favorite fall meals.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Benoit Touquette
WINE EDUCATION: Master Science Degree of Enology University Bordeaux
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Worked as assistant to Andy Erickson 04 – 07 ,Winemaker at Hartwell since then
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: to craft wine that expresses the specific characteristics of the terroir and fruit from the vines
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Life is to share….wine too….
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2006
AGENT RED: Greetings, Benoit. We are thrilled to be showing your * 2006 Misté Hill Cabernet Sauvignon* today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BENOIT: Benoit Touquette
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BENOIT: I have been fortunate to work with great people such as Michel Rolland, Andy Erickson etc… and fortunate to work in many parts of the world, Napa Valley, France and South Africa
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BENOIT: Michel Rolland; with no question.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BENOIT: I would say myself being a bit selfish but in the end hopefully the consumer will like the wine we produce
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BENOIT: The 2006 Hartwell Estate Miste Hill Cabernet Sauvignon shows great aging potential with bright fruit, great acidity and good tannins; the wine is getting better and better each day it is opening up slowly we recommend decanting minimum 1 hour.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BENOIT: A great steak prepared rare with Frites and mayonnaise.
RED: That’s very European! In your opinion, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
BENOIT: Napa Valley to me is one of the greatest wine regions country in the world because of its diversity, microclimate and soil…A region with a bright future.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BENOIT: We have just finished fermenting our Sauvignon Blanc and we are moving onto the Merlot.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BENOIT: It is always good to let the wines breath (young or old) thru a decanting process. Always pay attention to the pour temperature if you want to get the best from the wine you are drinking.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BENOIT: Just have fun discovering, tasting and sharing new wines with friends and family…be fearless and adventuress.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Hartwell Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Miste Hill is a wine that shows the softer side of the Hartwell Estate. As with all of our wines, the grapes come exclusively from our hillside estate. During the aging process, we make a selection of those barrels that show brightness of fruit, soft tannins, and approachability. The wine is blended, racked, and bottled without fining or filtration. The goal is to create a wine that can be opened and enjoyed immediately upon release.
The 2006 Misté Hill Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the pristine fruit of our Stags Leap District Estate Vineyard and reveals sexy chocolate and coffee notes complemented by cassis and blueberry. Muscular with a concentrated structure, superb acidity and lovely, long finish, this wine will continue to evolve and gain complexity through 2015 hold for another decade after that.
About The Winery:
Bob Hartwell’s passion for wine stems from his decades as an avid collector. Bob, a fourth generation Californian, has over thirty years of success in the aerospace and plumbing industries. As a successful manufacturer of quality products, Bob has never been a stranger to striving for quality over quantity at any cost. He has always known that the best quality materials result in the best quality products.
Bob’s obsession with producing the best didn’t stop at the manufacturing plant. Bob knew that fulfilling the dream of owning his own vineyard meant finding the best place to grow the best Cabernet Sauvignon. With the help of a respected wine consultant, he found the property he had been searching for. The unplanted hillside in the Stag’s Leap District, now Hartwell Estate, was the birthplace of his dream.
Dick Grace shared his Bouche Clone from Grace Family Vineyards, and collaborated with Bob on Hartwell’s very first production. In 1990 after 22 months in new French oak barrels, the wine, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, was released with explosive success. This established the tradition of quality and style that continues to distinguish Hartwell wines.
In addition to making great wine, Blanca and Bob Hartwell are dedicated to the tradition of charitable giving. Their ongoing philanthropic efforts are instrumental to organizations that improve the lives of children.
Benoit Touquette, Winemaker – Benoit holds a Masters degree of Enology and Chemistry from the University of Bordeaux. He has worked at several Bordeaux wineries including Chateau La Louviere and Chateau Couhins-Lurton. Early in his career Benoit made wine for Michel Rolland, “The Flying Winemaker,” in South Africa at Remhoogte Estate. Benoit is a star on the rise in the wine world and is devoted to continuing the Hartwell tradition of producing wines of distinction and acclaim.
Consulting Winemaker, Michel Rolland – Considered the world’s most influential winemaker and a graduate of the prestigious Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology, Michel Rolland has joined Hartwell Vineyards as a consulting winemaker.
Appellation: Stag’s Leap District