Hayman & Hill Napa Cabernet Review

RED GRAPESWe’ve had a lot of big-name, high-priced wines that failed to deliver what they promised. And we’ve tasted unknown, bargain-priced labels that turned out to be little jewels in a bottle. We’d have to put the entire Hayman & Hill line in the “jewel” category. They don’t have a long history, and they don’t come from some grand wine estate with hundreds of rolling acres of vineyards. In fact, Hayman & Hill is part of the New Wave of wineries.

Here’s what I mean by “new wave”: these wineries own no land and don’t plant their own vineyards. Instead, they contract with grapegrowers who own vineyards in regions they admire.  It gives the winemaker great flexibility: he or she can create a Cabernet from Napa in northern California and a Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands in the Central Coast. What’s more, there’s no need to lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy vineyard land and cultivate it. Or to build an expensive production facility: wineries like H&H often use “custom crush” facilities that handle the mechanical part of crushing and fermentation. Personally, I’m all in favor of this new trend. I’ve tasted many, many great wines from winemakers such as Stephen Ross (always gets HUGE ratings for his Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, etc.), and Tandem (amazing single-vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs), just to name a few.

So back to Hayman & Hill: David Hayman & Dennis Hill are two guys who manage to produce high-quality, appellation-designated wines for $15 or less. And that ain’t easy… I’ve tasted some bargain-priced Napa Valley Cabs that tasted cheap and nasty. Not Hayman & Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. There’s good structure for the price, and a hint of the characteristic cedar or eucalyptus that comes with the terroir. The fruit on the palate is classic blackcurrant and dark berry, and the oak is present but not in-your-face. It’s not a blockbuster, fruit-bomb Cab, but a well-balanced, elegant effort. We sure as heck recommend spending the $15 to drink a bottle with some steak or a burger.

And while you’re at it, pick up anything else in the line. You won’t be disappointed. And neither was the wine review press: Hayman & Hill has been named “American Value Brand of the Year” (Wine & Spirits magazine), Best American Wines $15 and Under (Food & Wine magazine), and Best Buy & 90 points (Wine Enthusiast magazine).

$14.99 Hayman & Hill Napa Cabernet 2007

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2 Responses to “Hayman & Hill Napa Cabernet Review”

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