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2012 Abreu Rothwell Hyde

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2012 Abreu Rothwell Hyde

Single Bottle - Standard - 750ml


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Tasting Notes:

The least expensive wine from Abreu is a 400-case cuvée called Rothwell Hyde, which comes from different vineyards. The 2012, which is in bottle, offers loads of cedar wood, black chocolate and coffee as well as hints of underbrush, forest floor, blackcurrants and black cherries. It is delicious, densely colored, and dramatic, even flamboyant. Drink it over the next 15+ years.The four vineyards that David Abreu owns include one of the oldest in St. Helena, the Cappella, which is a six-acre site alongside a Catholic cemetery on the west side of town. The Madrona Ranch, which is his first, his homestead, and the core of the Abreu philosophy, is planted on volcanic white tufa and red aiken soils. It represents the lower hillsides of Spring Mountain, tucked behind and northwest of St. Helena. This is a fabulous site. The Howell Mountain vineyard, of course, sits on that AVA, overlooking Napa Valley. It is at a 2,000-foot elevation, well above the fog line in Napa, and sits on classic red aiken soils interspersed with the volcanic white tufa. The Thorevilos Vineyard, which seems to produce some of the most singular wines anywhere in the world, doesn’t even have its own AVA, but is sandwiched between those of St. Helena and Howell Mountain. David Abreu co-owns this hillside vineyard with Ric Forman. The wines that emerge from here are extraordinary, and the vineyard itself would look like a clos in Burgundy if it had walls around it rather than evergreens. Abreu’s wines reflect his belief in the future of Cabernet Franc and have moved to basically proprietary blends. Cabernet Sauvignon still dominates all of his vineyard wines, but the percentage of Cabernet Franc can be as high as 33 to 35-plus percent, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon as well as some Petit Verdot. (Very little Merlot is used in any of the Abreu wines.) For the most part, the wines spend a good 24-plus months in 100% new oak and are bottled without fining or filtration. Abreu has long worked with his assistant, Brad Grimes, a former chef who has a Midas touch not only with cuisine, but with viticulture and winemaking as well. What I still find fascinating about David Abreu is that he only makes between 250 and 350 cases of each of his four separate vineyard-designated wines, as he still sells fruit to other high-quality wineries, most notably Colgin for their Cariad. I have tasted 15 vintages of Abreu’s Thorevilos, and five of them deserve a perfect score. In short, they are that amazing. (And that for a vineyard sandwiched between St. Helena and Howell Mountain that is not entitled to any specific AVA.) The Thorevilos includes considerable Cabernet Franc, probably 25-30% or more, with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and possibly a touch of Petit Verdot. It is one of the most singular wines from Northern California, with an incredible nose of violets and acacia flowers, blueberries, black raspberries and blackberries. A minerality also runs through this wine that I find stronger and more intense than the other cuvées from Abreu. It is sensationally concentrated, vibrant, super-complex, and really unlike any other wine I have tasted in the world. It’s hard to compare it with any Bordeaux or with any other Napa Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated wine, even any of the other three single-vineyard wines from Abreu.

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Abreu Vineyards is a winery in Napa Valley, California founded by the viticulturist David Abreu.David Abreu, a third-generation rancher from St. Helena, California and graduate of the Viticulture and Enology program at UC Davis, founded Abreu Vineyards in 1980 after working briefly at Caymus Vineyards. That year he formed David Abreu Vineyard Management, working with pioneering winemaker Richard Forman to manage ranching operations at Inglenook Winery.Abreu and Forman became friends and traveled frequently to Bordeaux, where they observed French winemaking operations. They brought back French rootstock, trellis designs, and Bordelais planting and farming techniques.Abreu's fame spread as other wineries hired Abreu's company to plant and manage ranching operations. By 1999 he was considered the premier viticulturist for premium grapes in Napa Valley. Abreu's company has raised grapes for some of the most respected wineries in Napa Valley including Blankiet Estate, Staglin Family Vineyards, Jones Family Vineyards, Bressler Vineyards, Colgin Cellars, Pahlmeyer Vineyard, Sloan Estate, Bryant Family Vineyard, Fisher Vineyards, Oakford Vineyards, Araujo Estate Wines, Grace Family Vineyards, Viader Vineyards, and Harlan Estate, among others.In the late 1990s Abreu and Forman jointly leased and planted the 20-acre (8.1 ha) Thorevilos Vineyard. They released Abreu's first cabernet from that vineyard in 2000.In 2006 Abreu was hired to replant vineyards at Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards.Abreu's label concentrates exclusively on estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon blends from his two vineyards. Distribution is extremely limited, although a number of online wine sellers do advertise Abreu wines at $100 to $600 or more per bottle. The 1999 production was 500 cases (45.000 hL; 1,188.774 U.S. gal).In 1998 wine critic Robert Parker included Abreu in his list of the "most influential wine personalities of the last 20 years". Parker awarded the 1997 Madrona Ranch cabernet a 100-point score, one of only 140 wines in the world to receive the honor.In the "Judgment of Sauternes" of October, 2006, the 1995 vintage Cabernet blend was judged the winner among Cabernet-Merlot blends from Bordeaux and California, 16 each, in a blind tasting arranged by the Grand Jury Européen.