Hindsight Wines Cabernet Sauvignon’s: Calistoga Estate & Howell Mountain

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The definition of hindsight is “understanding of a situation or event, only after it has happened or developed”.  For me having the opportunity to taste Hindsight’s wines was similar.  It is always noteworthy to try a wine you have heard about but have not experienced. It is even more pleasing to taste the wines and be impressed! Last night, with the help of two other Wine Society members, I tried a side by side comparison of two 2015 Cabernet Sauvignons’ by Hindsight Wines in Calistoga, Napa Valley. One was their Estate and the other their Howell Mountain. Two distinctly different and excellent wines.

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(Picture from Hindsight Wines)

The Winery

 

The winery is comprised of four owners all with unique and talented backgrounds.  Seth Gersch, the Managing Director, with a distinguished career in finance as VP of Morgan Stanley, Montgomery Securities, President and CEO of Bank of America Securities, Private Equity firm of Fox & Paine Company as Chief Operating Officer. Seth is a member of the Board of Directors of Global Indemnity and worked with the Board of the SF 49’ers Foundation which is the charitable arm of the team. Alisa is a physician and Sommelier.  Dr. Gean joined the UCSF faculty in 1989 as the Chief of Neuroradiology at San Francisco General Hospital, where she has worked for the last 28 years. Today she is Professor Emeritus, Neuroradiology, at UCSF Hospital and holds various titles in the wine world of education and achievement (too long to list!).  Jac Cole is the winemaker. His background has been with Chateau St. Jean, Mt Palomar, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Charles Krug Winery, and Spring Mountain Winery. He launched a consulting business in 2013 with Hindsight being one of his customers. William Boykin is the National Sales Manager with an extensive career of 43 years in sales and marketing wines in the US and internationally.  Those include Inglenook, VP of NDC, VP of Seagram Chateau and Estate and created brands from scratch such as Cielo Tequila and Southwell Bourbon.

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Their collective goal, simply stated, is to offer Napa Valley wines that over deliver in quality, yet remain reasonably priced. This is what every wine consumer would like a winery to state! They produce a 100% Cabernet wine, a red blend (“Retrospective”), a Chardonnay and the two reds I will be discussing, both Cabernet Sauvignons from different vineyards.

 

The Wines

 

2015 Hindsight Wines, Estate 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is from their Calistoga vineyard location at the top of Napa Valley just northeast of the town of Calistoga. With a late season cold snap, this vineyard saw less than half of their normal yield. On the eyes, a bit lighter rim around the glass than the Howell Mountain. On the nose, soft floral notes and medium to medium heavy viscosity. On the palate, soft and rounded Cabernet Sauvignon filled the mouth. It was balanced and juicy. It could go with literally any dish! The finish was round, lush and medium with fresh red fruit. Aged in 60% new French oak barrels for 20 months. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is listed at $75.

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The second Hindsight Wines was their 2015 Howell Mountain 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Bella Vetta Vineyard, Napa Valley. This is a vineyard which Jac Cole owns and maintains on Howell Mountain at 2,000 foot elevation along the La Jota Ridge.  Jac the winemaker states due to a late spring cold snap, the yield was less than 50%. The good news: those vines produced grapes that provided intense flavor. On the eyes, a comparison darker fruit in the glass due to a longer extraction by the winemaker. Medium to medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, distinct blackberries and raspberries waft into the nose. On the palate, some dark cocoa, soft pipe tobacco, plum and licorice. Angular tannins and multi-layered structure provide a finish of delight and quality. Almost two years of aging in 60% new French oak barrels. This is Napa Valley mountain fruit at its best!   This again rated a high mark in “my book” of the Best Wines of 2020 and will be noted as one of the Best at the end the year. BTW, as of today when this article is being written, they have a tremendous sale of their wines by the case at 50%!! See their website for details but it will not last long! This wine normally goes for $95/bottle.

 

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The Food Pairing

We tasted each wine with a twenty-four hour Chaka marinated seared tri-tip steak. Served with roasted potatoes with parmesan cheese, pan roasted Brussel sprouts with olive oil and drizzled balsamic vinegar, sliced portabella BBQ mushrooms and a fresh garden salad with blue cheese dressing. The tri-tip and wine pairing was stunning and simply simpatico with each other. Both wines were enjoyable and thought highly over the course of the dinner.  The favorite was the Howell Mountain with the nose, long lasting tannins, and layered structure that just beat the Estate by a mere ½ point!

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So the conclusion for Hindsight Wines, both the wine and my personal hindsight, is why wasn’t Hindsight Wines in my vision?  As Alisa quoted in an email to me “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it”—George Santayana. I for one have learned from Hindsight! Taking this Hindsight Wine review into consideration, I now have a clear line of sight as to what wines I will be adding to my cellar. In fact this morning placed my order!!

 

Sláinte,

 

Michael

https://californiawinesandwines.com

http://www.hindsightwines.com/

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