Hourglass has a knack for putting out Merlot with a body that just won’t quit, and we’re head over heels for this timeless beauty. 82% merlot finds extra structure with 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Rich and seductive on the palate, with a plush texture and seamless acidity, this has loads of concentrated red fruit flavors and the signature Blueline crushed stone minerality running throughout.
In 1976, Ned Smith purchased a small, four-acre parcel atop a knoll two miles north of St. Helena between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley (not far from Grace Family Vineyard) and planted Zinfandel, hoping to trade his grapes for wine from local vintners. Little did he know that his hobby vineyard was in a sweet spot for Cabernet Sauvignon, something his son Jeff discovered after his father passed away in 1990. Hourglass takes its name from its position at the “pinch” of Napa Valley’s unique hourglass shape. It draws cooling breezes from the south and west, allowing perfect ripeness from year to year. Hourglass’ critical acclaim keeps snowballing – and we were lucky enough to have gotten in on the ground floor. They also own “Blueline” vineyard, a spectacular site not far from Duckhorn’s 3 Palms Vineyard near Calistoga.
The 2019 Merlot Blueline Estate is a blend of 82% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple in color, it storms out of the glass with exuberant scents of baked blackberries, crushed blueberries and plum preserves, plus hints of mocha, lavender and star anise with a waft of truffles. Full-bodied, rich and seductive on the palate, it has a plush texture and seamless acidity, finishing on a lingering licorice note.