The 2011 Hobel Cabernet Sauvignon is reminiscent of our 2009 vintage in that is very expressive out of the gate. The nose is bright with both sweet and savory notes. There are copious amounts of raspberry, dark chocolate covered cherries, spices and oak . The wine crosses the pallet effortlessly with a touch of grip to provide wonderful texture. Compared to our prior vintages, the 2011 feels like an earlier drinker, but there is a great balance in the wine that should allow it to rest comfortably for at least a decade.
In 2011, we were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. While 2011 was admittedly a challenging year for many in the Napa Valley, the Engelhard Vineyard benefited from its location in the north end of the valley, its elevation, its hillside terrain and its well-drained soils. Impeccable farming allowed us to let the grapes hang longer than many others in the valley through the very cold rainy weather that extended until October 10. And at the end of October, a nice warm period gave us the phenolic maturity we needed. The grapes were finally harvested November 2, 2011 between 2:00am and 4:00am. Bahaneh, ever the optimist, kept saying she knew this vintage would be a good one for us and our cellar crew confirmed our optimism when they remarked it was "some of the cleanest fruit we have seen this year."
Location, location, location! In 2011, warmer temperatures in the north end of the Napa Valley pushed the grapes to ripen faster. The slope and hillside aspect of the Engelhard Vineyard allowed the morning fog to burn off more quickly, removing moisture and the potential for rot. We were able to let the grapes hang for a long time and harvest was completed on November 2nd, without a stitch of rot, which was unusual for the 2011 vintage. Wine wise, the 2011 has elements of both the 2009 and 2010 Hobel - it has the tannin structure of the 2009 and the concentration of the 2010. The 2011 Hobel Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the top wines my team produced this year.