A number of years ago my good friend Didier Loustau, of Loustau Wines and Marketing in Napa, sent me some wine from Hartwell Estate Vineyards. As I have said in the past, Didier has a great palate and can select some outstanding wines. So when he said he had tasted a couple vintages of Hartwell Vineyards’ Cabernet and I needed some of it in my cellar, I did not argue. I just said “send what you think will be good.”
Fast forward to the spring of 2014 and I am rearranging my wine cellar and I find a couple vintages (2002 and 2004) of Hartwell Cabernet stuck in with some other Napa Cabernets. They were resting in a bottom bin, way in the back.
Hartwell Estate Vineyards is a lovely facility located on Silverado Trail in the corner of the Stag’s Leap District of Napa. I had the opportunity to tour the facility and taste a flight of their wines back in 2007. It was a great afternoon experience and would certainly be fun to do again. Hartwell Vineyards was founded by Bob and Blanca Hartwell in 1986. Construction of the winery and barrel caves continued over the years and was completed in 1999. Today the winemaker is Benoit Touquette and he has been making wine at Hartwell since 2006. I had the pleasure of meeting Benoit when I toured the winery.
From my cellar I selected a 2002 Hartwell Cabernet Sauvignon. When I opened the wine, I did not decant it as it is over 10 years and I didn’t want it to aerate too much. I let it set in my glass for about 10 minutes before I started to drink it. The wine’s color was ruby/purple, maybe not as deep as it might have been in its early years. On the nose it had hints of cigar box cedar, dark fruit and earth tones. On the palate it continued with dark fruit, a little spice and it was balanced. The finish was fairly long and consistent with just a little heat to it. Overall, this was a good drinking wine. I do however believe it had reached its prime and should be drunk over the next couple of years. This is easy for me to do, as I have one more bottle of the 2002 left.
I did some research on the wine and found that there are still bottles available over the internet. Wine-Searcher lists several wine shops that have the wine available for about $75 a bottle. Upon release it sold for about $140, there were 740 cases made. The wine scores varied from Robert Parker’s 90 points in July 2012 to Wine Spectator’s original score of 92 points. Wine-Searcher’s average score is 93 points (high in my judgment, I would say it is more in the 89-90 range) with a drinking window of 2009 to 2015. I agree with that.
In last week’s blog I forgot to wish Didier a happy 50th birthday! Didier turned the big 5-0 on November 1. When I asked him what he did to celebrate, he said Susan arranged a small party and some friends had come the house…and of course they drank some wine.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to that party but I did get to his 43rd birthday dinner party in 2007 and I can tell you he hasn’t changed a bit since then. Cheers, and here’s to 50 more birthdays Didier.
A number of times I have mentioned in the blog about Didier’s great palate and his ability to get some wonderful wines from the many wineries and vintners in Napa Valley. Although he spends most of his time working with his ToutSuite project he still spends sometime getting wine for people (four cases showed up on my door step today) and I have asked his permission to share his email address with you. If you are interested in having Didier get you some wine or the next time he has one of those “you must have this 100 point Bordeaux in your cellar” deals, just drop him a note via email and he will get back to you. He does have the ability to ship you the wine in Indiana through a third party shipper. His email address is email@example.com.
Upcoming Wine Events
As I mentioned in the last couple of blogs, the Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club has two upcoming events and Tiedemann Wines also has an event. So get these events marked on your calendars!
Lucchese’s – November 18
On Tuesday, November 18, we are having a wine tasting from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m featuring 12 wines. I have teamed up with Kevin Hogan of Crossroads Vintners for what promises to be a great Wine Club event. Chef Ritchie is coming up with the evening’s food selections. This is a wonderful opportunity to stock your cellars with some good wines at discounted prices.
Javier’s Bistro – November 21
Tiedemann Wines will be providing and pouring wine for Chef Javier’s wine dinner on Friday, November 21. We released the menu and wine pairings in last week’s blog, if you missed check here. Call 574-222-2917 for reservations. The cost is $60 per person. I have teamed up with Chef Javier in the past for wine dinners and I can tell you he has turned out some amazing food. I am sure this will be the same type of dinner.
McCarthy’s – November 25
The Tiedemann On Wines Wine Club is having a wine tasting on Tuesday, November 25, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 pm at McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk. We are still putting together the wine and food pairings, but for $25 ($20 for Wine Club members) how can you go wrong? Plan to attend this event as well.
Chalet Party Shoppe – December 18
Tiedemann Wines will be pouring wines at Chalet’s Annual Christmas Tasting, at the County Road 17 location in Elkhart, on December 18 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. I’ll provide more information as it becomes available about this event.
These events are always great fun and you get to taste a lot wines. See you there!
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Until next week,