The highly exclusive bottling of Hewitt Double Plus Cabernet Sauvignon began with the 2009 vintage. When we tasted the developing wines during fermentation and aging, we marked our favorite barrels from various lots of Hewitt Vineyard with a “plus sign”; those will become Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon. That year, we found a few barrels to have such impressive flavors that we unanimously gave them a “double plus” (++); they were hands-down our favorites from that vintage.
So now we choose the most worthy individual barrels from each vintage to create a small, select bottling—approximately 200 cases—to honor legendary William A. Hewitt. This wine, which we believe epitomizes the most complex character of Hewitt Vineyard, is available only at the winery. Typically, it is selected from one or two barrels from at least two or three blocks of vines.
Our attention to detail in every stage of making Hewitt Double Plus gives the wine its impeccable balance and long aging potential. We hand sort the grapes twice: first as clusters and then, after destemming, as individual grapes. This gentle process retains about 70 percent whole berries. Three to five days of cold soaking the must, and approximately 45 days of total skin contact—dependent on the vineyard-block and vintage—develop the rich varietal character. We ferment a large percentage (about 60 percent) of the must in new French oak barrels to enhance the wine’s opulent texture, and age 100 percent of the wine in new barrels to create a balanced synergy of dramatic dark-fruit expression and oak spice. During in-barrel malolactic fermentation, we stir the wine to round acidity and seamlessly integrate the characteristics. Finally, we gently clarify the wine with four rackings during barrel aging and bottle it without fining.
Double Plus epitomizes the complex character of Hewitt Vineyard with dark, brooding expression of wild blackberry, black plum, crème de cassis and mountain sage. Dark chocolate, caramel and affogato lace the aromas and persist through the dark-fruit finish. Sixty percent of the wine was fermented in small barrels, which rounded Hewitt Vineyard’s powerful tannins, thus enhancing the wine’s opulent texture and structure.