Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvee and meatball subs.
Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvee and meatball subs.

S ometimes when things are going bad a good bottle of wine will lift your spirits. Teri and I needed a lift after the heating guy gave us the bad news about our furnace.

The heat went out Saturday night during one of the coldest nights of the year, and while it was fun snuggling under the covers, it was hard getting out of bed in the morning. A repairman got the furnace going Monday, but he said it wouldn’t last long, so he would send someone over to discuss a new heating system.

We already are in the middle of replacing the master bathroom and closet because of a roof leak. Now add in the furnace and we’re at the cost of my first house. (I hate showing my age by saying things like that, but it’s true.)

So we needed a good wine to put us in the right mood for Thanksgiving preparations. The Hess 19 Block Cuvee did the trick. This is a wonderful wine, perfect for special occasions and weeknight dinners.

It’s a velvety smooth wine with layer after layer of beautiful fruit. The nose is an elegant whiff of cedar and licorice. Just a hint, nothing overdone.

Black cherries and plums flood your mouth with the first sip, followed by some raspberry, caramel and vanilla with slight herbal notes. The wine lingers in your mouth long after you swallow it. The tannins are wrapped in silk and give the wine some body.

Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvee
Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvee

The wine gets its name from the 19 separate blocks that contribute grapes to the mix. It’s predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

All the grapes are from the Veeder Summit Vineyard, which ranges from 1,300 to 2,000 feet above sea level on Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder. The steep slopes and volcanic soils produce intensely flavored complex wines.

The current release of this wine is 2009, and if there is any difference, it might be a bit more muscular. But the Hess Collection wines are made to get better over a few years. So I’d suggest patience. Buy a case and cellar it for a couple of years and then enjoy as the bottles get better and better.

Everything about this wine is in balance. And that’s what we needed in our lives, some balance. So the wine put us in the proper mellow mood. Bring on the holidays.

From: Napa Valley
Winery: The Hess Collection traces its roots back to 1844 when Hess Family Estates was founded in Switzerland. Donald Hess, the fourth generation of the family to run the business, opened the Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder 2,000 feet above Napa Valley in 1978 and has continued to grow the company.

Donald Hess was attracted to Mount Veeder for its elevation and unique mountain climate, which he believed would yield the best grapes to produce great wines. Mount Veeder is distinguished among Napa’s mountain districts for having the highest elevation, coolest growing season and geologically diverse soils.

Hess’s mountain estate’s 310 acres of vineyards are sustainably farmed in accordance with Donald’s philosophy: “Nurture the land, return what you take.”

The winery has specific plans for each vineyard scattered throughout Napa Valley in diverse areas, from cool climate to hot and from steep slopes in the mountains to gentle slopes near the bay.

Donald Hess exhibits part of his extensive contemporary art collection at the stunning Hess Collection Winery in Napa. The art is displayed in the original winery built on the site in 1903 by Colonel Theodore Gier, and later owned by the Christian Brothers. The trip up the mountain is worth it for the art alone. They also support sustainable farming practices.

The winery is best known for its flagship Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines, and single vineyard designates from estate vineyards in Napa Valley, such as the Allomi Cab. The company also owns wineries around the world, including Peter Lehmann Wines in the Barossa Valley of Australia, Colome and Amalaya in Argentina, Glen Carlou in South Africa and Artezin in Napa.

Cost: $36
Year: 2008

A weeknight feast.
A weeknight feast.
Goes with: I fixed a quick dinner of meatball subs made with frozen meatballs and Newman’s own marinara sauce. We toasted the buns, poured on the sauce and meatballs and added slices of provolone cheese. They were exquisite. We added potato chips and had a meal.

The 19 Block is a complex wine, perfect for food. It should go well with many kinds of grilled meat, such as duck, lamb or pork, mushrooms, beef stroganoff and hard cheeses.

Write A Comment

Pin It