Hahn Estates Red Quartet

Hello all…once upon a time I used to own and operate a nice wine shop. As a buyer I would always be looking for value priced wines that demonstrated potential. The potential that I was looking for was a wine that satisfied and could evolve.
The price of a wine may not always reveal its potential but when you discover one that does …bells and whistles!!! You just found yourself a great value.
It’s all about the fun of finding them and sharing the discovery.

Don’t have a long history to pull from. I’ve been making wine here for 6 1/2 years. My first wines are still tasting good and some of the old mid-80’s SMith & Hooks I’ve had from our library are showing like excellent aged clarets…

Oops. I’ll get the hang of this thing yet… Last post inside quote area…Too many moving parts…

Ratings data –

WS rates the 2003 Red Flyer an 80 and says the following,

“Generous oak frames cola and cherry flavors. Syrah, Durif, Mourvèdre, Carignane and Grenache. Drink now. 15,000 cases made.”

For those (like me) who don’t always remember how their scale works, here’s the breakdown:

100-Point Scale
95–100 Classic
90–94 Outstanding
85–89 Very Good
80–84 Good
75–79 Mediocre
50–74 Not Recommended

It appears WS hasn’t rated one of the Smith & Hook wines since 1996. For my part, the 15.2% alcohol content feels like a potential flag, but that’s not always a reliable indicator (except to say that there does appear a propensity among vintners here to bundle some of their slop with the good stuff when they come to woot so I guess we must proceed accordingly.)

I have a bottle of the 2004 Meritage in my cellar which I recall had a sign at the store shelf indicating a high rating by some one of the critics/services. I have no data on the 2005 except that the Hahn Estates website touts an award won at a Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (hmmm).

Lastly, K&L Wines (klwines.com) lists the Pinot at $15.99 and describes it as follows (which may be text provided by the vintner as they sometimes copy from there):

“Pure Pinot fruit with ripe black cherry cola and spice on the nose. Luscious flavors of plum and cherry open into concentrated notes of wild berries and vanilla that wrap the tongue in velvet. Tannins are plentiful but are soft and integrated. A balanced core of acidity keeps the wine suspended well into the finish. This is a substantial wine that can stand up to a number of rich foods.”

Not enough substance to grab me this week but good luck to all. -J

As for choosing Merlot, I am probably one of the only winemakers you will ever hear say that good Merlot, from a great region, made correctly, is one of my favorite wines in the world…Pomerols, Vignalta, Thelema Mountain, etc…

We have a vineyard called Deer Valley that provides the Merlot for the base of the blend. The grapes used to go into a Smith & Hook Merlot in the old days before we cancelled that wine about the time I got to the winery. Made sense for me to use it in the Meritage. This stuff is about as tough and tannic as you can get with the varietal. I actually use the Cab for softening the wine… Good stuff.

Thanks for jumping in Josh (and associates). We appreciate your early contributions. There’s a good feeling (IMHO) that Hahn (Wimbledon) is a well run organization which translates (again IMHO) to offering very good value.

Have a great week.

Ok, I am a little confused.

It is wonderful getting the information from the Winemaker and the Head of Direct Sales for Hahn, but I am getting confused by who is who.

I understand that RoosterBooster is Joshua Cairns , Head of Direct Sales for Hahn, and he has provided, excellent info so far.

MELobsta says he/she works for Hahn, but no introduction, but whose express purpose is to be here to answer all of our questions Is this the Winemaker?

enodude is answering questions like a winemaker (great answers by the way!!) - Is this great Adam Lazarre - the Winemaker we have been waiting for with baited breath?

Sorry, but it just helps to know who everyone is in the organization. I LOVE your wines, and have been a Hahn Estates fan both personally and professionally for awhile now. I have been in the restaurant business for 25 years and have had some of your wines on my lists on and off (depending on the year and the wine).

Thanks for coming to the forum and sharing information!!!

I’m afraid we haven’t done a good job of updating the awards and press on our website although if you go to www.wimbledonwine.com, you can get an updated list of the accolades. The 05 Meritage has actually picked up 5 golds as well as a Best of Show, two coming from the most important competitions - LA and San Francisco. The 04 version was one of the most, if not the most, accoladed wine in the world last year In cometition. I can say that when you get a gold at the Houston show, you get a very cool belt buckle about the size of a dinner plate. We actually got a full-blown leather saddle for taking one of the awards last year from there. Not typical, but certainly unique…

We don’t submit wines to every magazine for review, preferring to get feedback from competitions. We think a panel of 40-90 experts (sommeliers, writers, shop owners, winemakers) reviewing a wine against 800 other wineries is a better guage of how you are doing vs. one person. Who knows how that person will perform that day? Coffee, a bad breakfast, a fight with a spouse, could change the way your wine is perceived.

I travel 20-30 weeks out of the year and do encounter people who buy wines based upon Spectator scores rather than trusting their own palates, but we’ve still managed to stay in business primarily on word of mouth. Seems to have more staying power. There is a fairly common feeling amongst many winemakers that a rating from one of the two powerhouses could do more damage than good.

And thank you for bringing the K&L review to our attention. We like to keep track of that stuff.

My apologies. I am a newby. I am Adam. MeLobsta is Dean, our marketing God from the North-East (good to see you online, Dean!)

And thank you for the kind words…

Well, my very first (and then-singular!) criterion for a good red, back when my palette was still in pre-beta, was “how does this go with steak?”

But then again, I am the guy who managed to inherit 2 bottles of 1982 Chateau Villemaurine Grand Cru from St. Emilion, so I’m not reflexively opposed to merlot. And yes, they’re in my locking wine fridge :slight_smile:

Well - Adam, Dean and Joshua - It is a pleasure to have you here in the forum, and by the way…I am in for 3 on this deal!!!

…and Adam, Congratulations on the promotion, it definately sounds like exciting things are happening at Hahn Estates!!!

I live in the area where Hahn is located. I work (part time) in a local tasting room and know people who work in the Hahn tasting room. They have very good wines and will probably end up get this deal myself. They are based in Monterey County, CA. Monterey grows excellent grapes and makes great wines. They are a part of Smith & Hook. If you ever get out this way I highly suggest taking the “River Road Wine Tour”. Many great wineries are along this stretch of road.

Thanks a bunch. I am glad Josh introduced me to the site. For all of the wine forums out there in Electronville, it’s still pretty hard to find one with thoughtful and serious discussion. I have been reading thru past posts and am pretty impressed. My only mission in life is to spread the gos;pel of wine (pretty sad…I know…) and am happy talking about the sensory contributions of ellagitannins in wine as much as I am happy answering the question “what makes red wine red?”. It’s good to find a place where stuff like that can be addressed w/o the pretention. Nice job…

I don’t suppose you live near the Central Coast and are inclined to spontaneously open an incredible Bordeaux now and then for someone you’ve never met…

Virginia, sorry. And it depends if she’s attractive, intelligent, single, and interested in me… even then, it’s not likely, but it’s more probable!

And thus Adam’s true desire in coming onto the boards is revealed, getting free wine. Though, Loweeel, my girlfriend has been reading over my shoulder and might be willing dump me to get the single part back into her description so open the bottle for her.

One of the things I’d alluded to earlier was the climate of the Santa Lucia Highlands and it’s impact on the Pinot and Syrah coming out of Syrah. If Adam is still lurking around hopefully he can speak to it with more authority and actual comprehension than I can.

While the tri-tip is a grilln’ and the kids are all in the pool, I get enodude, that’s easy, but roosterbooster? Turkey? MeLobsta? Too much fun in the sun? Expound on that for me please. But you are fun! Why so many labels?

Well, none of us can come to this board with a weak boardname. Pretty sure I sadly spent 10 minutes coming up with it. Hahn is German for Rooster, the label has a rooster on it, and I’m here in the rooster boosting section.

Dean’s is easier, he lives in Maine (ME) and loves lobster (which is you are from Boston, is Lobsta).

Oof!..At least you have your priorities straight (if you’ll excuse the joke…). But I’m thinking that you’ve now got me craving a smokin old world Merlot.

Interesting perspective. Self-serving, but interesting.

Everyone knows the ratings can be political and, it seems, when they are good folks in your industry love to tout them (like you did here when you let us know how wonderful the 05 Meritage is). Yet when they are bad you are just as quick to pooh-pooh them or otherwise stay silent about them (again, like you did here - you pooh-poohed regarding ratings to take the edge of that borderline mediocre rating you got on the Red Flyer and stayed silent on the Smith & Hook - hmmmm.).

What I tell folks is simple and probably the same that you’d say - if you like the wine then it’s a good wine so far as you and your hard-earned $$ are concerned so nothing else really matters.

It there anything else you can tell us about the Red Flyer or the Smith & Hook?

I do thank you for the update on the 05 meritage which we all appreciate. While I won’t buy it here since it appears you did what many of the vintners here at woot are taken to doing (bundling the good with too much mediocre stuff), I will nonetheless go get some at my local store so I, again, thank you for that info. - j