Hester Creel The Judge
This big, ripe wine offers smoky aromas of fig, plum and leather followed by generous flavours of coffee, chocolate, and blackberry in the mid-palate, all finishing with long, silky tannins. The Judge is approachable in its youth but made to age for five to eight years.
Although the 2011 growing season was cooler and damper than average, a spectacular fall of chart-topping temperatures meant the Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes — from some of the oldest vines on the estate — ripened to an ideal balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. Crop thinning, select leaf removal, and shoot thinning exposed berries to sunshine, softened tannins, and helped develop beautifully complex and mature fruit flavours.
This is the fifth vintage for The Judge, and with experience comes excellence. Each grape variety was macerated and fermented separately in Italian Ganimede fermenters. Malolactic fermentation was allowed to finish in the tanks before each was oak-aged. After 14 months, the best lots were chosen, blended and put back into oak for an additional 12 months, allowing the components to marry for a perfectly integrated wine.
Food Pairing Notes
Pour it alongside a plate of medium to strong cheeses, or pair it perfectly with a well-marbled ribeye or duck confit.