The Smith family bought the six acre parcel that eventually became Hourglass in 1976. With no great aspirations to be in the wine business, Ned Smith planted four acres to his favorite wine grape, Zinfandel, with the hope of being able to trade grapes for finished wine. He explained that Napa Valley is generally shaped like an Hourglass, and the hillside site defined the "pinch," or narrowest point of the Valley. Its unique location would provide an unusual growing climate. Of course, there could be no other name for this special place than Hourglass.
Based on Dr. Kliewer's recommendations the Hourglass vineyard was replanted to Cabernet in 1992. Jeff then enlisted the help of family friend (and fellow rock band mate) Bob Foley, to craft the wines. Jeff Smith said later, "with all the early signs in our favor, we still had no assurance we could get this piece of ground to create world class wine. As we started the project our mission statement became: To make wines that didn't suck, in the event we would have to drink them ourselves. To this day we are committed to that lofty goal, but unfortunately we have little wine for ourselves."
As it turned out, in the summer of 2001 with the first case ever sold, David Stevens and Karen Williams (then the wine directors at Tra Vigne restaurant in St. Helena), included Hourglass in a 1997 flight tasting during the week of the Napa Valley Wine Auction. The flight included Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, and Bryant Family. Tasted by 25 collectors and wine trade professionals, Hourglass never ranked lower than third in the flight! This tasting set in motion an avalanche of interest in Hourglass, which has been growing steadily ever since.
Recommendation: If you have the ability, we recommend decanting the wine for 2 - 6 hours in an open mouth decanter allowing the wine to come up from cellar to room temperature. The introduction of oxygen and the warming effect opens up aromatics, and releases subtle nuances adding complexity and influencing texture and finish. If you are in a restaurant, ask them to decant for you and don't be afraid to swirl the wine in your glass to accelerate aeration.
Hourglass Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Rated 97 - The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Hourglass has a dense purple color and a sweet nose of licorice, black currants, smoke, cedar, and some high-class subtle oak in the background. The wine is full-bodied, avoids some of the harder tannins that sometimes arise in this vintage, and has a very layered, multi-dimensional mouthfeel and finish. This is a beauty that can be drunk now or cellared for 20 or more years. A stunning, seductive style that features layers of creamy oak, dried currant, plum and mocha. Turns smooth and polished, unlocking doors of hazelnut and spice and ending with a long, full-blown finish. Drink now through 2017. 700 cases made. - Wine Spectator