Deep ruby color; black cherry, black currant on the nose; black cherry, plum, raspberry, blackberry, chocolate on the palate.
Dry; savory with depth and density; rich, tasty tannins. Medium-full bodied, fruit-forward winner. Vanilla and spice appear mid-palate; very artful use of oak. Wonderfully plush mouthfeel.
Hess enjoys a storied history in Napa wine. In the 1880s, the families of Fisher, Brandlin, and Streich H. Hudeman settled on the property where the Hess Collection Winery now sits. Hudemann established a botanical garden that included a 12-acre vineyard and small winery.
From 1984 to 1890 Rudolph Jordan owned the estate and made significant contributions to winemaking, including the first to use cool fermentation and inoculated yeast. Col. Theodore Gier, a prominent wine merchant and leader in the California wine industry owned the property from 1900 to 1929. Gier planted more vineyards and built the three-story winery that today holds the Hess Collection’s art gallery and its historic barrel chai (an aboveground building that stores wine in casks).
The stock market crash ended Grier’s operations, and in 1930 the property was sold to the Christian Brothers to establish a new novitiate, school, and winery. The Brothers expanded the winery and began producing Mont La Salle wines, a major provider of Catholic communion wines still today, although now from other properties and different owners. Brother Timothy FSC was a world-renowned winemaster who significantly enhanced the reputation of Napa Valley and wines from the Mount Veeder region.
Donald Hess began acquiring land on Mount Veeder in 1978. In addition to vineyards, he also set aside more than 600 acres to support wildlife corridors, fish-friendly farming practices, and biodiversity with the mantra: “nurture the land and return what you take.” The Hess Collection winery was established in 1986 in winery buildings leased from The Christian Brothers. In 1992, Hess was able to lease 125 acres in the historic Brother Timothy vineyard.
Over the succeeding years, Dave Guffy became the second director of winemaking and Hess increased its emphasis on sustainable winegrowing, including helping establish the Napa Green program, gaining certification in 2008. Donald Hess retired in 2011 and Timothy Persson became the CEO, the fifth generation of the Hess family to guide the operation. The next year, Guffy added Stephanie Pope and Kate Ayres to the leadership of the winemaking team.
The Hess Collection Allomi Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is delicious with depth and smoothness and delightful layers of flavors. If you enjoy California cabs, this is a must on your bucket list. Pair with grilled pork with caramelized onions, roasted chicken, roasted small potatoes or vegetables, Monterrey Jack and Gouda cheese, or simply enjoy solo for its depth and length. $28-30