2019 Hess Collection “Allomi” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California (Alcohol 14.3%, Residual Sugar 5 g/l) LCBO Vintages $57.95 (750ml bottle)

I honestly hadn’t tasted Hess wines for quite some time, but over the past three months I have been most impressed by what has been available through the LCBO. This Allomi Cabernet Sauvignon is something I tasted just the other week, and I was simply delighted with its performance, especially as it is under $60.

Produced with pristine fruit from the Allomi vineyard, a parcel of vines upon well-drained clay-loam soils located at the foot of Howell Mountain, this wine is built to impress. Although it’s mainly Cabernet Sauvignon (79%), another four grapes make up the rest of the cépage: 9% Petite Sirah 5% Malbec 4% Merlot 3% Petit Verdot. That 9% Petite Sirah goes a long way though, and certainly leaves its mark on the resultant wine.

Even if you aren’t usually a fan of the toasty vanilla notes that come from American oak, you should give this wine a try, even although it sees some 18 months in 27% new cooperage. That new oak’s seamless integration with the fruit is really rather lovely, and makes this wine really stand out for me as at this pricepoint said integration can often be rather clunky.

As one would expect, what with it being Napa Cab, the bouquet is all about ripe, dark berries (cassis!) and American oak spice, with hints of cedar (more oak) and a tempting florality (violets, as ever). The black berry fruits continue onto the palate, but here one will also find heartier black fruits (damson and bullace) filling out the mouthfeel. The ripe tannins are silky smooth and given tensile strength by the moderate acidity, meaning each mouthfeel shows off the elegant structure. Consumed by itself, I found the attack a little sweet for my liking, but alongside some grilled lamb it worked an absolute treat, its medium-full body and inherent juiciness complementing the sweet, fatty meat quite wonderfully.

While it’s not really for my everyday drinking (my budget doesn’t usually extend to that unless it’s for a special occasion), it is certainly a wine that punches well above its relative weight, as when it comes to Napa Cab one doesn’t usually get quite this much bang for one’s buck.

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five apples)



Hess wines are represented in Ontario by Select Wines.

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