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Hourglass Blueline Estate


$74.99 $70.99/bottle

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The highly acclaimed Hourglass Blueline Estate Merlot 2018 displays hallmark characteristics of mandarin orange peel, dark sour cherry, inky cassis and taut minerality, providing a diverse food-pairing range

Variety: Merlot
Region: Napa Valley, California
Winemaker: Hourglass
Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 15.0%

Winemaker's Notes

Lush and vivid, the 2018 Blueline Estate Merlot opens with pronounced aromas of tangy dark cherry, raspberry compote and warm chestnut, with telltale notes of mandarin orange peel and Asian five spice providing precision and lift. Across the palate, the vibrant red fruit shines, accented by warm blackberry pie filling, roasted nut and hoisin notes. While supple and gracious in texture, Blueline’s mineral-rich soils add defined firmness to its structure and noticeable lift on the finish. The subtle nuances of aromatics, flavor and texture give Blueline Merlot a uniquely wide breadth of food pairing options from Mediterranean to Asian fare

John's Notes

Other than the fact that Hourglass Blueline Merlot 2018 is ridiculously good, I’m not sure what made me think of this, but ….

6 hours or so into the second full day of wine class a few years back, it struck me that the “new” instructor was giving particularly light pours. Rarely one to pass up an opportunity for a quick laugh particularly in a full classroom, I commented that the prior instructor was much more generous with the wine tastings.  And while the class found my comment mildly amusing, the instructor (who I later learned was the owner of American Wine School) did not.  Like a true pro and without missing a beat, she quickly replied that I obviously have yet to learn the difference between “tasting” and “drinking” – a response which drew far more laughs than my initial quip

Marianne has been my primary instructor now for several years including at least 5 exams, and in addition to her incredible wine knowledge, I’m always impressed with what a great teacher she is. Raising a glass to you MF

And no, I really haven’t matured a whole lot from high school 🙂

Nerdy Details

Winemaker:  Hourglass, winemaker Tony Biagi

  • The Blueline Estate is named for its two majestic “blue line” streams – a term for significant watersheds – that converge forming the vineyard. These streams have meandered for thousands of years, leaving behind an ancient river bed.  The gravelly soils are the signature of the vineyard’s extraordinary terroir and the source of its deeply concentrated wines

Variety: 86% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot

Region: Calistoga, Napa Valley, California


  • The Napa Valley AVA runs roughly north to south and is about 31 miles long. Within the Napa Valley AVA, there are 16 smaller AVAs including Calistoga, and because of its very warm daytime temperatures, the Calistoga AVA can produce some of the most concentrated, full-bodied wines in Napa Valley
  • The two canyons which reach upwards of 2,000 feet above the Blueline vineyard cause a thermal dynamic: As temperatures increase throughout the day, the warmer air rises up within the canyons, cooler air rushing in underneath it. This unique dynamic provides a cooling effect which mitigates the otherwise high daytime temperatures


  • Vine age: 28 years (Merlot), planted 1991
  • Blueline Estate’s gravelly Cortina soils provide incredible drainage, yielding smaller berries with greater concentration and structure
  • Merlot is often planted on clay-based soils, yet there are none to be found at the Blueline Estate. Instead, its soils are the gravelly remnants of ancient, upturned river beds (the product of the two Blueline streams that formed them). These mineral-rich soils drive the exotic aromatics, density of fruit concentration and lifted tension in the wine and form the core DNA of this unique Merlot
  • The Blueline 20 acre vineyard is West and Northwest facing
  • Elevation: Valley floor to Transitional Bench to 200 Feet
  • Aged for 17 months in 70% new French oak, 30% seasoned oak

Alcohol:  15.0%

Pairs With: Grilled pork chops, herb-roasted chicken, marinated lamb skewers


Jeb Dunnuck (95): Leading off the 2018s from barrel, the 2018 Merlot Blueline Estate offers loads of exotic candied orange peel, violets, and pure red and blue fruits. It’s perfectly balanced, medium to full-bodied, and certainly an impressive barrel sample. Based on 86% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and a splash of Petit Verdot, all from estate fruit in Calistoga, it’s going to drink nicely in its youth yet evolve for 15+ years

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (94): A barrel sample blend of 86% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Merlot Blueline Estate has a very pretty perfume of candied violets, kirsch, warm black plums and star anise with hints of tobacco leaf and fallen leaves. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is so wonderfully juicy, plush and laden with exotic spices, possessing great freshness to boot, finishing long and perfumed

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