Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley – 2015
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
The drought cycle that started in 2012 continued in 2015. As a result, we experienced a warm dry winter and an early start of the vegetative cycle with bud break in February. In May, unseasonably cool weather caused poor pollination, resulting in concentrated fruit due to millerandage—small, seedless berries amid a few normal berries, creating the intensity and complexity in the juice. The summer was hot overall at Hyde Vineyard. Thanks to a few cool days in early August, the growing season was extended, allowing the grapes to reach great maturity.
- Harvest Date(s): September 12 (Merlot); September 15 (Cabernet Sauvignon)
- Barrel Aging: 22 months; 30% new French oak
- Bottled: July 31, 2017; unfined and unfiltered
Perfumed lilac and lavender unfold into brush-strokes of black cherry and fresh cassis bud. Intricate and concentrated flavors of red currant, dill, and a hint of cola dance across the tongue. Provencal spices and green olive add to the depth and complexity. Full, velvety tannins are accented by the freshness of the acidity and minerality. Patience will be rewarded; this wine promises to have long-term aging potential.
- Varietal Composition: 53% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Production (in cases): 554 cases (9L)
- Alcohol: 14.5%