Tony Biagi

Tony Biagi

This report focuses on wines from Anthony Biagi, who over his past 19 years in Napa Valley has been the talent behind labels such as Neal Family Vineyards, Duckhorn, PlumpJack, CADE and Paraduxx (among others). Today, he’s the winemaker for Hourglass, as well as Patria, which is a new personal label created in 2013 with longtime friend Kimberly Jones.

Anthony (or Tony as he’s more widely called) is a sixth generation Californian whose first memories of wine go back to his father making small amounts of wine in his garage. Earning a degree in Fermentation Sciences form U.C. Davis in 1995, Tony worked for numerous well-known estates before joining the Hourglass team in 2012. He created his own Patria label in 2013.

Hourglass:

Looking at the Hourglass Releases, this estate was created in 1997, with Bob Foley being a driving force behind the wines for 15 years. Tony joined the estate in 2012. Today, the label focuses on two vineyards, the Hourglass Estate vineyard located in St. Helena, and the newer Blueline Estate Vineyard located in Calistoga. www.hourglasswines.com

Hourglass Estate Vineyard

Hourglass Estate Vineyard

 

Hourglass Vineyard

The Hourglass Vineyard is a valley floor site that was first planted to Zinfandel in 1977 by Ned Smith (who had first planted the site as an orchard). It was replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon in 1992 by his son, Jeff Smith. This is a cooler, east facing site consisting of mostly fractured bedrock soils. They release a single estate Cabernet Sauvignon from this site.

Blueline Estate Vineyard

Blueline Estate Vineyard

Blueline Vineyard

The Blueline vineyard is another valley floor site that was first planted to Merlot and Cabernet Franc in 1991. It was extensively replanted to Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec) in 2007. Located in Calistoga, this 20-acre, west/northwest facing parcel was acquired by the Hourglass team in 2006. It too is a valley floor vineyard, yet is a slightly warm site compared to the estate Hourglass vineyard. The soils are gravely and decomposed volcanic ash. They release a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot and Cabernet Franc from this site, as well as a tiny production, cellar selection called 36-24-26 (a perfect hourglass figure). At the moment, the Hourglass estate appears to be the star of the show, yet all of the Blueline estate releases are unquestionably outstanding and beautiful wines.


Patria:

As to the Patria releases, these come from the Oakville Ranch vineyard, which is a larger, hillside estate. It lies on the eastern edge of the Oakville District, at an elevation of roughly 1300+ feet (not far from Pritchard Hill), and consists of red, volcanic soils. Tony releases two wines under this label, the classic Cabernet Sauvignon, and the smaller production Avoyelles cuvee, which is more Cabernet Franc dominated.

These are distinctly different wines than the Hourglass releases and shows firm, structured personalities reflective of their hillside terroir. Where the Hourglass cuvees were all relatively approachable, this need to be forgotten for 3-4 years. The 2013 are a clear step up over the 2014s and show incredible concentration and structure. However, the 2014 are much more charming and drinkable today.


Sinegal:

Owned by David Sinegal, this is estate is located south of St. Helena and covers 30-acres of vines, on an estate which was previously known as Wolf Vineyard. The wines are made by Ryan Knoth, with Tony Biagi functioning as a consultant winemaker. I was able to taste the 2013s and 2014s for this report, both of which are beautiful wines.

Thanks for reading,

Jeb