2014 Hess Collection Lion Tamer Red

Year: 2014
Appellation: Mount Veeder, Napa Valley
Country: USA-California
Wine Advocate: 93
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.8%
Price :


"Another fascinating wine that symbolizes the new level of quality as well as innovation and creativeness at Hess Collection is the 2014 Proprietary Red The Lion Tamer, a red blend, which is 55% Malbec, 15% Zinfandel, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petite Sirah and 8% Merlot. It comes from vineyards throughout Napa and is a delicious, Mediterranean style of wine, with notes of forest floor, underbrush, lavender, loads of black cherry and blackcurrant, a nice, spicy meatiness and a medium to full-bodied finish. Drink it over the next 5-6 years." (WA)


Though I’ve had many fine wines from The Hess Collection, I must admit when I came across this Malbec, etc. blend I was skeptical. Then I opened the wine, let it breath for a while and my wife and I ended up with a hearty, truly fascinating red wine blend that only became more interesting with each new wine sip. And what truly added to my surprise is the fact that it is a blend that includes some wine varieties that I usually don’t rank that high. But the Hess Winery certainly did right by them in this full-flavored red that even managed to preserve that subtle “elegance” quality that I so associate with Napa Valley wines.

The Lion associated name comes from the Hess family feeling that this red blend brings all the “roar” of its 12% sturdy Cabernet Sauvignon, modified when blended predominately with 55% Malbec, plus the addition of 15% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, and 8% Merlot. The end result is a lush fellow, with lodes of cassis, dark berries, ripe cherry aromas and flavors, yet with a fascinating “grace” in the background and an overall uniqueness that should lead to a must buy and try for any adventuresome wine lover.

Though I enjoyed it now its tannic level augers for the chances that the wine will improve for another couple of years of so and keep well into the mid-2020’s.

PRICE: $29.95, *** bargain
WHERE: Los Angeles Wine Co.
(Martin's Guide to Wine Bargains)

Winery Notes:
The name “Lion Tamer” has become a nickname for Malbec because we use it as our tannin tamer. Much like a Lion Tamer who uses a deft hand to soothe powerful, instinctive animals, Winemaker Dave Guffy uses Malbec to soothe powerful tannins. This red blend brings all the roar of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, and when blended with Malbec, produces a big, lush wine that finishes with smooth and tamed round tannins.

Though just 30 miles long and a few miles wide, Napa Valley is home to diverse microclimates and soils uniquely suited to wine grape growing. It is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world and for our Napa Valley wines we look to our estate vineyards and select growers throughout the valley to source the very best wine grapes. The Hess Collection wines are family owned, sustainably farmed and dedicated to reflecting a true sense of place. Our wines are recognizable for their elegant, rich and complex flavors and a tradition of excellence.