Hess Cabernet Sauvignon

Disclaimer: The Hess Cabernet Sauvignon that we review here  was provided as samples.

Rosé may be the wine of summer, but this is also the season of outdoor grilling. With red meat, Cabernet is a better pairing choice. After last week’s Hess Rosé we tried a couple of Cabernet Sauvignon from that winery with grilled tri-tip. 

Tri-Tip was not a cut of meat with which I was familiar until I moved to the US. I had assumed it was a cut used in the US but not in England. However, in a recent chat from a Floridian friend I found that it is a California sepciality. The specific origin seems uncertain. Somewhere in the 1950s or 1960s in Palm Springs, Oakland, or Long Beach was when the name was first used.  From Wikipedia 

The tri-tip is a triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut, consisting of the tensor fasciae latae muscle. 

The two wines that we paired with this meal were from Hess. The winery that had provided the rosé we drank on our weekend getaway.

2017 Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon

The wine hails from the California North Coast: Mendocino County, Lake County, and Napa County. Cabernet Sauvignon is 79% of this wine, with the remaining 21% made up of four other varieties. 8% Petit Sirah, 7% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 1% Syrah, The wine aged in a mix of French and American Oak. About a quarter of the barrels were new oak.

2017 was the year of devasting fires in Napa. Fortunately, the fruit was picked before those fires and the associated smoke.

Hess Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Hess Allomi

In contrast to the Hess Select, with its grapes picked from three counties, the Allomi is a single vineyard  wine. This vineyard sits at the base of Howell Mountain. 210 acres of vines, with six different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is 81% Cab, 12% Petite Sirah, 3% Petite Verdot, 2% Malbec and 2% Merlot. All of the barrels were American Oak, with 27% being new oak. 

Tasting the Wines

Two wines from the same winery. Both from the same year. Not widely differing blends. Their prices differ by a dollar. Would these similarities extend to the way the wines taste?

The Hess Select had a nose of warm metal. After a few minutes, aromas of blackcurrant emerged. It was soft, lush, with notes of blackberry and a little leather. Acidity become apparent in mid-palate. The very discrete tannins left a dusting on the tongue in the finish along with a hint of green pepper.

The Allomi had a fruitier nose: raspberry and cassis. The taste was very fruity, perhaps too much so. This wine had lower acidity and less tannins than the Hess Select. In the finish, white pepper and baking spices emerged.

Amber and I prefered the Hess Select. Less fruit and greater acidity made it a better balanced wine. If you like your wines fruity,  the Allomi may be a better option for you. Both wines show no potential for aging. Buy them and drink them now. Most of the sub $20 California Cab we have tried have not been great, which makes the Hess Select a good choice as a Tuesday night wine. 

The Hess Select is $15.99 from wine.com

The Hess Allomi is $29.99 from wine.com

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