Hahn Estates Red Quartet

Ellagitannins? That’s a new term in my wine vocab! Preach on, brother, so that thee shall enlighten the followers of the Church of Woot!

When someone said “Red Flyer”, it kinda reminds me of Flying J, ya know, the gas station/truck stop.

Yeah. That’s pretty easy and also the reason I chose to come back to Monterey (besides the bitchin’ Mexican food). I suspect everyone on this board is an info gathering master so I don’t have to explain where we are in relation to the rest of California’s appellations. The SLH is cool and consistant, thanks to it’s relation to Monterey Bay. Diurnal swings are moderate . Stuff Pinot Noir likes given how delicate the grape is. SInce the skins are so thin, the grape needs the cool for longer hang time, thuis giving a chance for color, flavor, and tannins to develop. In Syrah, that translates into darker berry flavors and more resolved tannins/flavors.

The trade off for the cool is that the sugars are much higher when the flavors/acids/tannins come into balance - hence, the higher alcohols. We don’t hang the fruit extra long for our health. That’s just the nature of our terroir. There are other places on the planet where those desireable characteristics develop at lower sugars.

Well, you guys made be go into the cellar & bust out one of my favorite $20ish PNs, Morgan’s Twelve Clones Pinot Noir, which is from the SLH AVA. I know I’ve seen the Rooster around in one of the local stores around here, so I’ll certainly have to go check some of it out!

Well, I guess when you’re proud of something you’ve done, you would like others to know. I guess that’s why pride is one of the seven deadly zins…er…or sins. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the only feedback that you get that your wine didn’t show well in competition is not to get a medal at all. It’s just gold, silver, bronze, or no medal. No balsa wood or feces medals. Josh can tell you how many competitions we enter per year as that was one of his jobs once upon a time. So perhaps a better guage would be to figure out what percentage of competitions you’ve actually won something vs. those where you didn’t. I’m not sure anyone announces the shows where no medals were won. That would be like going to your local wine shop and seeing a tag below a wine saying " Wine Spectator 64 points…tastes like ass and burnt rubber…". As a judge for 6 of the Internationals, I can tell you that I have slammed some of my own wines, even trying to convince the other judges the wine wasn’t worth medaling. That’s the beauty of tasting blind against your peers. That is also why I’m a fan of competitions over magazines. When you get a score, you are sent a fax asking if you would like to buy ad space before the magazine goes to print…hmmmm.

Can’t really speak of the Red Flyer score. That was the only one I ever saw and it was a few years ago when the wine first was bottled. There are a number of reviews by solid critics on the Wimbledonwine.com website that may provide some more detailed info and tasting thoughts. But as with anything moderately subjective, you have to take it all with a grain of salt and just try yourself and see whether the wine blows your skirt up or not. Fortunatley, the wine is very modestly priced so you aren’t out a small fortune if it doesn’t work for you.

The Smith & Hook is pricier, but as with the RF, there are a number of reviews that can be found at the same website. I won’t tout them or quote the awards. It is a weird bird in many reviewers eyes. Once upon a time, the wine was kind of a Central Coast standard. As the 80’s came to a close, the herbal, vegetive characteristics of the wine, once considered acceptable by many of the “old world” palates, started to lose favor as richer, riper Cabs became the norm. The scores started to drop over time. Many of those original wines are now tasting great, but in California, we don’t age our wines for many years before release as in days of old. I personally can’t stand veggie wines (the occasional Bordeaux in poor years the exception). To me, it’s just a function of the wrong grape being grown the wrong way in the wrong climate. When I joined the winery back in 01, the winery started the process of ripping out those vines and planting to Pinot and Syrah, much better suited for our soil and climate. I started blending more and more fruit from Paso/Napa into the wine…up to the legal limit in order to produce a better, broader flavor profile. We moved the 05 to a Central Coast appellation to give us more flexability to make a better wine. I still add a secret 10-12% Napa blender to beef up the back end of the midpalate tannic structure. Unfortunately I can’t say what vineyards they come from as the shipment usually shows up with a non-disclosure agreement…

One thing that might help put things into perspective, is when I was recruited, I was promised I wouldn’t have to release ANYTHING that wasn’t up to snuff. To put that to the test, I informed Nicky Hahn that I couldn’t put together an 04 S&H blend that met our standard of quality. There was no question in the minds of Nicky and our president, Bill. The wine was never released. Much of it still sits in barrel as we wait for another earthquake to destroy the lots. Even though we took a pretty substantial financial hit and lost many restaurant/wine shop placements, it was the right thing to do. I certainly don’t want to be sitting in front of this screen two months from now getting flamed by you all for a bad wine. Been through it before many years ago. No fun.

Oh boy A technical question. These are a class of tannins found in the oak we use for barrels/aging. They contribute virtually no flavor or smell, but contribute a considerable amount of mouthfeel and structure to a wine. Unfortunately, they are thoroughly destroyed during the process of toasting the wood. When you purchase barrels, you can specify that you want them with or without toasted heads. Many of the traditional Burgundy barrels come that way. I prefer to order most of our barrels that way, but with heavy toast levels on the staves (the round body). It may take a bit longer for the oak flavors to resolve and integrate, but you also get a considerable punch in structure and mouthfeel. A great way to make a thin wine “bigger”. The French also produce these 3 year air dried untoasted oak beans that you can toss in during the fermentation. They get pressed out along with the skins and seeds once the ferment is over, but the result is darker stabilized color, and bigger, rougher tannins…good for aging. A bizzillion wineries use them (many of the ultra premium producers), but for some reason think that what they are doing needs to be a big secret. We are technophiles. Love to try all the new techniques. At the end of the day, nothing still compares to great grapes and old world winemaking, but when your vineyards encompass several appellations ( SLH, Arroyo Seco, Paso Robles), you need every tool available to you to account for the disparate conditions and challenges.

Great info! Is that class of tannin unique to French oak or is it also found in other oak sources?

You obviously pay a lot of attention to your cooperage. I noticed another new concept to me in the write-ups on the main page. “Neutral Oak.” Is that a characteristic that is achieved through processing/construction, careful sourcing of the raw materials, or is that just a pleasant was of saying, “used several times, so we ain’t gettin’ much of anything from the barrels.”

Don’t alot of fairs have Double Gold too.

I’ve always been a fan of the idea that only one person gets a gold, another gets a silver, another gets a bronze. heh.

Aye! And it’s a pirate-gypsy-harper that I shall be the last two weekends of this month at the Ojai Pirate Faire.

'Twas 95 in the shade today. I had to resort to pouring some of the Chateau Souverain Syrah Port over shaved ice.

– T

The list of wines looks interesting, but the price is nothing soecial. Having checked out winesearcher.com, in the stae of N.J., the going price is the same as the WOOT price including shipping. Oh well.

still triple digits in parts of the country till near the end of this month. (based off of annual trends.)

I’ll have to say I’m loving the massive amount of involvement right off the bat. Is this the first time we’ve had 3 reps answering questions from a winery? Thanks for the clarification btw, was getting confused here as well.

I was thinking of the wagon, from when I was a little 'un

I was thinkin’ of the BB gun…

Everyone knows it’s red dye #3!.

And I was thinking of the sneaker… PF Flyers

Come on find out how to send to Indiana…

I have purchased a case of the Hahn Meritage for the past 3 years and have served it a dinner parties. It is very good and I have never had a complaint.
The Meritage consistently wins awards at the Monterey wine festival which is how I heard about it in the first place. I am on the east coast so word had to travel pretty far. Believe the Monterey festival is pretty reliable since it is a completely blind tasting.
I’m in for a spin. Price seems good for the 4 bottles, the Meritage retails for about $20 by me with a full case going for $16 - $18 a bottle. Look forward to tasting the other offereings. Thanks Hahn/Smith Hook folks.

Hmmmmmmm. An owner, a president and a vintner who would rather lose contracts, contacts and buckos than release a sub par wine. A promise from said same parties, who have passed the integrity benchmark in my eyes, that they aim for a higher than typical quality to price ratio. A new wine word (Ellagitannins) to drop casually at tasting events. An appellation that is currently under-represented in my wine credenza. A guy willing to use the word ‘bizzillion’ and open to admitting he learned a few things about wine the hard way.

Dang, that fall I just took off the fence is going to leave a mark.

Fairs generally follow the same formula for giving out awards. A double gold almost always means the wine was awarded a gold medal by all of the panelists. There are some competitions where after we got the medals back I had to call and find out what they meant. They were calling the Platinum what we think of as gold, their gold would normally have been silver, and their class called simply award was bronze level.

They couldn’t really just give one gold, etc for a couple of reasons. First is, until the wines are competing head-to-head for best of class and best of show, the wines are really competing on their own. The wines aren’t ranked in the first round against anyone else, just on how good the judge feels the wine is. The second reason is a bit more material, if wineries knew they only had a small shot at winning anything, even with a good wine, they would be less likely to sign up and pay the entrance fees. Therefore the competitions wouldn’t be able to support themselves. So we end of with the system that we have now.