Hughes Wellman 2008 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon
92 pts, Wine Enthusiast; Gold Medal: 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition; Gold Medal, 92 Points: Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition
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- Napa Valley
- Cabernet Sauvignon 96%, Merlot 4%
- Alcohol by Volume
- Cases Produced
- Now and through 2035
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.
Best Wine Out There
If you didn't grab this up before it was sold out, you missed out. I don't want to say "by far" but this is the best wine (even better than 360), that I have tasted from Cam. My wife and I celebrated 25 years with some friends the other night and I opened a bottle of the 2008 Hughes Wellman. I decanted it for about 3 hours and it opened up beautifully. Perfect balance from nose to taste. The tannin structure was outstanding and the finish was long and smooth. Of all the wines I opened for my guest, including Lot 400, this was their favorite. It is drinking beautifully now but I will wait on opening the remaining bottles until at least 2020. I think this wine still has room to grow and I look forward to tasting in the years to come.