Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley – 2014
The name Belle Cousine is a reference to Pamela Fairbanks de Villaine, Larry Hyde’s lovely cousin who is the wife of Aubert de Villaine of Burgundy. It is Pamela who brings these visionary viticultural families from Burgundy and the Carneros region of Napa Valley together to make wines that express the character of place, with that rare minerality so dear to the Burgundian palate.
- Vineyards: Hyde Vineyard, at the eastern edge of Los Carneros District
- Appellation: Los Carneros, Napa Valley
- Size: 5.87 acres
- Vine Age: 14 to 30 years
- Soil: Shallow loam over clay hardpan
- Exposure: South by southeast
After one of the driest winters on record in 2013, the rains eventually came between February and April 2014, and the ground was saturated fairly quickly. The rain was perfectly timed during bud break, promoting rapid, healthy growth in the vineyard. An unseasonably warm spring, followed by consistently warm summer days, promoted accelerated growth, ideal pollination and early véraison in late June. We experienced a few cooler days in August, which slowed ripening and helped preserve the mineral and fresh components in the wine. The clusters and berries were small in 2014, a marker of a great vintage. Harvest started mid-August and finished the first week of October.
- Harvest Date(s): September 12 & 18 (Merlot) and October 2 (Cabernet Sauvignon)
- Barrel Aging: 22 months; 30% new French oak
- Bottled: July 20, 2016; unfined and unfiltered
Rose potpourri, leather and cocoa layer in the glass to delicately compliment beautiful aromas of plum, fresh blueberry and savory spice. Dry herbs and a hint of fresh olive give this wine depth and complexity. This wonderfully balanced wine accents the timeless companionship of these two Bordeaux varieties. Freshness and minerality accompany silky and complex tannin texture. Firm yet elegant, 2014 Belle Cousine displays black cherry and fresh blackcurrant notes that build into a delightfully long-lasting finish. Even in its youth this wine displays depth and harmony that guarantees it will drink spectacularly for years to come! —Stéphane Vivier, Winemaker
- Varietal Composition: 47% Merlot, 53% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Production (in cases): 730 cases (9L)
- Alcohol: 14.9%
Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley – 2014 – 94 points – Vinous
The 2014 Belle Cousine is a Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Hyde. Dark, pliant and inviting, the 2014 opens with a compelling range of floral and savory aromatics. Dark cherry, plum, lavender, violet and licorice infuse this deep, fleshy wine. The tannins need at least a few years in bottle to soften, but the purity and vibrancy of the fruit is striking. Put simply, the 2014 is absolutely delicious.
Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley – 2014 – 93 points – James Suckling
Aromas of dark berries and raspberries with fresh herbs, all of which follow through to a full body with tight and focused tannins. A long, flavorful finish. Tight and long. 53% cabernet sauvignon and 47% merlot. Needs two or three years to come together.