The 2008 Hughes Wellman Cabernet is an elegantly styled wine with tremendous purity and persistence. Deep garnet and purple inflected appearances are supported by fresh cut red and black fruit. Soaring aromatics and Crème de cassis interlace in a silken package. Mocha, graphite, and Crème de Mure define the palate. The resolve is formidable with finely grained tannins to support its fresh, show stopping character. Mouthwatering and fresh, with currant, blueberry, red raspberry and Damson plum fruit notes are contrasted with transparent texture and structure. The finish is a tour de force, aria like with waves of pure fruit and mineral building to a satisfying resolve.
Our 2008 vintage presented change for both the vineyard and our Hughes Wellman program. La Herradura was sold in late 2007 and its long time managers were dismissed. At this point we felt it was time for a new partner and the timing could not have been more perfect. In short order, we secured the fabled Stagecoach Vineyard and Palisades Vineyard as our core grape sources for the 2008 vintage.
These vineyards are some of the best terroir in Napa Valley and the result is a truly spectacular Cabernet. Both Stagecoach Vineyards and The Palisades Vineyard are located on the east side of the Napa Valley with western and southwestern exposures. Stagecoach is grandly constructed from massive red volcanic intrusions. The elevation 1100-1500ft gives Stagecoach exposure to cool coastal influence across the western Mayacamas. The red Hambright soils are extremely well-drained and ideal for Cabernet. The Palisades Vineyard is located at the outflow of Horns Creek in Calistoga. The site is nestled between two ridges with a gradual slope and fantastically deep Spartina Gravel soils (Think Araujo Estate). These two sites represent the best that the Napa Valley has to offer in terms of exposure and location.
The 2008 vintage contrasts previous Hughes Wellman Cabernet releases, as a result of a slightly cooler season and later picking dates. Although the vintage was not as warm as 2007, our improved sites gave us a longer ripening season as a perfect October came to a close. The wine style is texturally different than our previous releases, more high-toned and fresh with finely-grained tannins. The wine was aged in 70% new French oak and spent 20 months on its lees. This practice creates density, freshness and a silken texture in wine, however not every vineyard can support this style. Elegance, purity and grace define this wine.
Grilled New York Strip with Delmonico Potatoes
Enjoy Hughes Wellman Napa Valley Cabernet with this bold dish, perfect for the largest-bodied reds. With striking fruit and a huge tannic structure, this wine cuts through the rich, savory nuances of the marbled steak and creamy potatoes. This pairing is perfect for that special occasion.
2 ea. New York strip, 8 oz. ea. 1/2 ea Shallot, sm dice 4 cloves Garlic, minced 6 fl oz Heavy cream 2 large pinches Kosher Salt 1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper 2 ea Idaho potatoes, peeled 2 oz Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 325* F
Combine the shallots, cream, salt and pepper in a deep skillet. Slice the potatoes 1/16" thick (on a mandolin if possible). Do not wash or soak the potatoes after they are sliced - leaving as much starch in to help hold the potatoes together after cooking. As you slice the potatoes, add them to the cream mixture - so they won't oxidize.
Bring the above mixture slowly to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add three-fourths of the grated cheeses to the potato mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased shallow, baking dish. Layered potatoes should be 1-inch deep. Cover the top of the potatoes with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 325 degree oven, uncovered until golden brown on top and the potatoes are thoroughly cooked.
Let rest 15 minutes while grilling steaks. Heat grill until very hot. Season steaks well with salt and pepper. Grill steaks until desired doneness (internal temperature of 130 degrees when removed from grill for Medium-rare), rest steaks for 2 minutes. Slice potatoes into squares and lay the steak across potatoes.
Double Gold Medal
Lot 285 2009 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Hughes Wellman 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon,
Lot 291 2010 Lodi Zinfandel,
Lot 276 2009 Los Carneros Pinot Noir, &
Lot 273 2009 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay