I love this wine so much. Always have. Yes, it’s got a fat chunk of Syrah. That’s one of the things that make Block 19 so special. Cab, bec, syrah and merlot. I keep a pretty stiff vertical of this cheap wine and it rewards handsomely. All briar and dirt here, all the rough edges of mountain fruit glaring through the generous jam and berry. Fruit on ELEVEN. So gorgeous. Patina no where NEAR perfection yet–still has years to go–nice green tannins even at almost 10.

In a lot of *proprietary reds*, the Syrah portion is pretty obvious. For those in the front rows, “Proprietary Red” almost ALWAYS means “syrah added”. This one actually isn’t labeled with that odd category, and I have just come to believe over the years–perhaps romantically–that it is merely a field-blend from whatever is growing in this alleged “Block 19”. Probably not a co-ferment, but the way this wine shines through as a straight-up BDX blend or meritage has always impressed me. Maybe it’s the Malbec? Maybe it is the Mt. Veeder aspect of the whole package which keeps everything lean and doesn’t turn the Syrah into screaming dessert. WHATEVER they are doing here, it WORKS, and I’m glad they have kept doing it all these years. This is not an expensive wine, I should add. Probably one of the greatest bargains in Napa Valley.

Have you driven a block 19 lately?

2010 HESS COLLECTION 19 Block Cab/bec/SY/ME Mt. Veeder Napa Valley 14.4


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