2014 Hoopes Howell Mountain Maya's Merlot

Winery

Located on prime Napa Valley real estate, where the Oakville AVA borders Yountville, the Hoopes Vineyard is a family business with a twist: it’s a father-daughter operation – in which (daughter) Lindsay Hoopes has full control of managing the business. Her father, Spencer Hoopes, came to farming and winegrowing by following his passion for collecting great wines. In 1983, he planted a ten-acre vineyard in the Oakville AVA and was soon supplying premium fruit to several esteemed wineries. 15 years later, he started his own label in order to make the aromatic wines with balance and structure that he loved most. A sweetspot for Cabernet Sauvignon, the Oakville AVA features well-drained sandy and gravelly soils as well as a slightly warmer climate that allows this late-ripening variety to develop rich and complex flavors. Think “Napa Cab” and you are probably thinking “Oakville” - as it is home to many of the Valley’s most iconic wines. Hence, it’s not surprising that Hoopes Vineyard focuses on Cabernet. But, as a small enterprise comprising estate vineyards as well as a winery, Hoopes Vineyard represents the pure relationship between grape grower and winemaker in a way that few do in the Napa Valley anymore. Under the flagship Hoopes label, the winery produces Cabernet from its estate vineyard in Oakville as well as from select vineyards in other parts of the Valley.  These wines, produced through meticulous farming and a minimalist approach to winemaking, are deep and complex and will reward years of cellaring. This label also includes Sauvignon Blanc from Coombsville as well as Chardonnay from Carneros. The winery also launched Hoopla, originally as a way to utilize the barrels that didn’t make it into the top blends but now as a label that emphasizes the fun and joie de vivre of a life in - or with - wine. The dog on the label is Dante, Spencer’s faithful and energetic terrier (now deceased), whose boundless energy might symbolize how we should approach wine in our lives - with a sense of play and fun rather than formality and seriousness.

Wine

When it comes to Merlot, location is everything. To avoid Merlot that’s soft, over-ripe and jammy, it should be planted in vineyards that are cool but not too cold – such as in St Emilion or Pomerol, where Merlot-dominant wines are savory with great finesse and elegance. Maya’s Merlot is from a vineyard on Howell Mountain, where summer days are sunny but windy and significantly cooler than the valley floor. Planted in well-drained, volcanic soils, the vines produce grapes with small berries, giving the wines more tannin, as well as earthy flavors and subtle fruit. The 2014 Maya’s Merlot is rich, dark and complex - with leather, black pepper and meaty notes to compliment the lush flavors of black cherry and chocolate. Drink now or wait five or ten years. 

Winemaking

Aged 21 months in 75% new French oak. 

Tasting notes

90 points – Wine Enthusiast . Aromas of cocoa and espresso are spiced up with herbal notes of bay and lavender. The palate is generous and lush, offering black cherry, dark chocolate as well as leather and earth. On the finish, the fruit fades into notes of vanilla and toast. 

Appellation

Howell Mountain (Napa)

Varietal

95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

Size

750ml

Closure

Cork

Alcohol

14.9%

UPC

NONE