The North American Report

Introducing Our Own Rock Garden Wines!

Our buyers go to wine country all the time and walk the vineyards, meet the owners and taste and chat with the winemakers.  We like to see what’s coming down the pipes years before things actually get delivered and keep a step ahead of the game.  Now here’s where things get interesting... it is not uncommon for a winery to sell off some of their own wine in barrels.  Sometimes those barrels are just a little bit weak and don’t make the cut.  But sometimes, when the Hi-Time buyers are barrel tasting with the winemakers and owners, and we’re tasting amazing wine, they tell us that they have just a bit too much wine, something “extra” if you will, and they plan to sell those barrels.

Now, this seems contradictory to some; why would a winery want to sell barrels of their phenomenal wine?  Well, it does take work to sell wine (just ask us!).  And maybe they only want to sell 500 cases of a wine, but they have enough quality juice to bottle 1,000 cases.  Well that’s twice as much work, so they sell the wine to somebody else at a heavily discounted price.  That means that somebody somewhere is getting an amazing deal!

We at Hi-Time have wanted to get in on these deals for quite some time.  The Hi-Time buyers tasted through several barrels from several producers, and while there were many good wines, we held out for something stellar at a great price (because we only want to get you the best bang for your buck!). 

Well, we’ve finally found some incredible wines that are practically steals!  Today, Hi-Time is proud to introduce the limited run of Rock Garden wines, our private label!



Napa Valley’s Carneros region is well known throughout the world for making incredible Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.  At the lower elevations of Carneros, the warm days during the growing season are balanced by the cool breezes that come from San Pablo Bay.  This helps to preserve acidity and balance in the wines.  The fruit for this bottling comes from one of the most prestigious vineyards in Carneros.  This vineyard straddles the border with Sonoma, with varying amounts of volcanic rock mixed in with the clay soils.  Aged in both new and used French oak, the wine has a very rich gold/straw color.  The aromas begin with walnuts, apple, hints of citrus, bread pudding and toasty oak.  The toasty quality gives way to refreshing acidity, lemon oils, flowers, hints of tropical fruit and fresh apples.  Well-balanced, rich, and still refreshing, this wine fires on all cylinders.  One last thing; the winery’s Chardonnay sells for $60 so this is an amazing value!

$25.95 750ml [252500] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



There is a spot where the rolling hills of Carneros gain elevation and meet with the rugged slopes of Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder.  It is in this area where we find the vineyard for this blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  The soils here are predominately clay, very thin and shallow, providing good drainage and poor fertility.  Since these vines struggle to retain moisture, this aids in keeping crop yields small, allowing the grapes to ripen and develop intense, vivid flavors.  This wine has a dark ruby/garnet color and the aromas are intense with herb, sweet tobacco, raspberry, currant, grilled meats and violets that give way to flavors of cocoa, black plum, black currants, wet minerals and a mélange of red fruits.  This is beautifully proportioned, as it has one foot in the new world and one foot in the old world.  It drinks great on its own, but pair it with some beef and you’ve got one heck of a meal!

$29.95 750ml [252510] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



While there is currently an onslaught of 2011 and 2012 Cabernets being released, it’s good to see there are still some 2010s out there!  2010 was a cooler vintage, with yields being low, but the longer growing season gave winemakers glorious fruit--  the resulting wines are magnificent!  Silver Oak’s 2010 is one of the last releases from this great vintage.  We were privileged enough to get a sneak peak at their Alexander Valley Cabernet about a month prior to release and we can assure you that his baby may be the best they’ve done in the last 5 years!  Always comprised of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a vibrant, elegant expression of this classic appellation.  It has a deep garnet color and an enticing nose of cassis liqueur, blueberry coulis, tobacco, tarragon and roasting coffee.  The seamless palate starts with a berry-laden attack, follows with a full-bodied mid-palate, and ends with a long, savory finish with fine grained, well integrated tannins. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2031.

$65.00 750ml [274508] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


Plumpjack Winery is already an established name,  producing voluptuous, high-scoring Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley’s Oakville.  That being said, the winery wanted to add to its portfolio, but didn’t want to have more wine in the same style.  The winery decided to begin CADE, Plumpjack’s sister winery.  Located on Howell Mountain, in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley overlooking the valley floor below, the focus of CADE Winery is to showcase the more rugged, structured and black-fruited side of Cabernet Sauvignon, where Plumpjack shows the sleeker, more supple side.  At first, the CADE wines were made by the same winemaker, but now CADE has its own winemaker, its own vineyard sources (different from Plumpjack) and its own state-of- the-art winery.  The winery: is LEED Certified for its low impact on the environment; has the latest winemaking equipment; and only looks to the best vineyards for fruit!  Winemaker Danielle Cyrot has worked at Schramsberg, Artesa, St. Clement and Stag’s Leap.  Danielle plans for harvest years in advance… maybe that’s one reason why these wines rock as hard as they do!



This truly is CADE’s flagship wine.  This fruit comes entirely from CADE’s Howell Mountain Estate, planted to 19 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 acres of Merlot at a high elevation between 1,500 and 1,850 feet.  A portion of the wine was fermented in large wood barrels for more seamless integration of oak, tannins and fruit.  CADE’s dedication to only the best meant that, in 2011, they focused on fruit that was above the 1,800 foot elevation mark because that fruit showed better concentration and purity than the rest.  The resulting wine is beginning to earn stellar scores from the press; this one earning 92-95 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate! 

WINE ADVOCATE 92-95 POINTS - “Cade’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Howell Mountain is wonderfully alive in the glass. A heady bouquet redolent of smoke, tobacco, sage, French oak, menthol and black currants explodes from this dark, brooding Cabernet Sauvignon. Clean veins of underlying minerality give the 2011 its energy, focus and tension. This is another hugely promising wine, but it is super wound up right now. It will be interesting to see where the 2011 goes over the coming year.”

$149.95 750ml [208090] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



The CADE Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from five vineyards on Howell Mountain, including the CADE Estate Vineyard, Ink Grade Vineyard, Outpost Vineyard, True Vineyard, and Eagle Summit.  Each vineyard has its own distinct personality, and each was harvested sometime between October 6th and October 26th.  So each vineyard was harvested and fermented separately, meaning CADE could blend specific portions of each vineyard to make the best Howell Mountain wine possible!  100% free run juice was used with no press fractions blended in, and the wine received 20 months barrel aging in 100% French Oak (80% New).  This wine has aromas of red cherries, strawberry, brambles, and rose petals. The wine is full bodied with solid structure and tannin and finishes with flavors of cranberry, strawberry jam, allspice, vanilla, clove, coco powder, toasted almonds, and chocolate wafers.

$79.95 750ml [208010] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button.



Some of the most famous and sought-after vineyards in Napa Valley include Kenefick Ranch, Beckstoffer Dr. Crane, Beckstoffer To Kalon, Hanson-Hsieh.  Any producer of Cabernet Sauvignon would love to get their hands on fruit from just one of these vineyards, but a portion of all of them are blended into CADE’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon!  The highly-regarded 2010 vintage, despite being later than normal and a bit cooler than average, produced wines with stunning color, great intensity, and balanced mature tannins. The resulting wine has aromas of black cherry, plum, cassis, brown sugar, rose petals, hazelnut, and blackberry compote. The palate is full of toasty oak, baking spice, boysenberry, blueberry, and milk chocolate flavors. The tannins are integrated, smooth, and mouth coating. The oak barrels used add a velvety texture and a touch of vanilla bean, maple, and caramel to the finish.

$59.95 750ml [208030] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



CADE would never be “happy enough” to make a “good” Sauvignon Blanc…CADE only wants to make outstanding Sauvignon Blanc!  In order to do this, they ferment their grapes in a combination of stainless steel tanks, stainless steel drums, French oak, and concrete eggs.  In addition, a combination of native and cultured yeasts used, and the culmination of all this helps to give the wine aromatic and textural complexity.  Aromas of Lychee, Honeydew Melons, spearmint and freshly mown hay are followed on the palate with flavors of melon, figs, Fiji apple and spring peas. A little refreshing acid at the end results in a mouthwatering finish that brings you back for a second glass!

$27.95 750ml [208040] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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