Hyde de Villaine (HdV)

California: Napa Valley, United States

Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley – 2016

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  • Introduction

    • The name Belle Cousine is a reference to Pamela Fairbanks de Villaine, Larry Hyde’s lovely cousin who is the wife of Aubert de Villaine of Burgundy. It is Pamela who brings these visionary viticultural families from Burgundy and the Carneros region of Napa Valley together to make wines that express the character of place, with that rare minerality so dear to the Burgundian palate.

  • Vineyard Profile

    • Subterranean: Ancient terraces and alluvial fans

    • Vineyards: Hyde Vineyard, at the eastern edge of Los Carneros District
    • Vineyard Owner: Mr. and Mrs. Aubert de Villaine, Mr. and Mrs. Laurence W. Hyde, Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Hyde III
    • Appellation: Los Carneros, Napa Valley
    • Size: 5.87 acres
    • Vine Age: 16 to 32 years
    • Soil: Haire Clay Loam
    • Exposure: South by southwest
  • Vintage Report

    • 2016 started with a cold and wet winter, which gave the vines a well-deserved dormancy after the fast-paced growing season of 2015. Bud break occurred in mid-March and was followed by a dry and warm spring. This resulted in a healthy and vigorous canopy and ideal pollination, which provided a bountiful crop.

      Heavy fog in early August slowed down the maturation process and allowed for optimal phenolic development while retaining the freshness and natural acidity Hyde Vineyard is known for. Harvest started the second week of August and was completed by the first week of October.

    • Harvest Date(s): September 19 (Merlot); September 29 (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Vinification

    • Barrel Aging: 22 months in French oak; 20% new
    • Bottled: July 26, 2018; unfined and unfiltered
  • Technical Information

    • Varietal Composition: 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
    • Production (in cases): 666 cases (9L)
    • Alcohol: 14.4%
  • Tasting Notes

    • Black and red currant emerge in the nose as hints of sweet, dry basil and black pepper cavort their way upwards. Herbal hues of cassis bud and thyme frame the flavors of dark chocolate, rich cherry and sweet earth. In the background, complex strokes of fresh violet and graphite unfold as it develops in the glass. The supple tannin structure pirouettes with the acidity, leading towards an extended and robust finish. There is a power and a concentration to the wine inviting the drinker to take another sip.



  • Hyde de Villaine Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley — 2016 – James Suckling – 94 Points

    A blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon that delivers green-olive, currant and tobacco character. Medium-to full-bodied, silky and refined. Shows focus and beauty. A very calm and serene red. Traditional. Drink or hold.

  • Hyde de Villaine Belle Cousine, Hyde Vineyard, Napa Valley — 2016 – Vinous – 96 Points

    The 2016 Belle Cousine is another absolutely gorgeous wine in this range from Hyde De Villaine. Ripe plum, mocha, new leather, spice, menthol and grilled herbs infuse the 2016 with striking complexity. Despite its considerable appeal, the 2016 is potent and massively tannic. Time in the glass gives a good idea of what will develop in time; readers should plan on being patient. The Belle Cousine is very clearly a special wine in the making.