Deep ruby color; raspberry, tart cherry, blueberry, blackberry, black plum, cinnamon, white pepper, minerals/crushed rock on the nose and palate.
Dry; reserved tannins and acidity; medium-plus body. Oak notes from 11 months in French wood, but relatively subdued until bite of oak spice on the finish. Classic GSM—70% grenache, 26% syrah, 4% mourvèdre, a blend made famous in the southern Rhône. The grapes for this were sourced from Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County—a gravelly, alluvial plain beneath the Santa Lucia Mountains. Cool winds from Monterey Bay encourage gradual ripening, some acidity, and subtle flavors. Excellent drainage of the rocky soils contributes to intensity and balanced ripeness.
Grapes picked late in the evening. Destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks with pump overs several times a day to extract maximum color, aromatics, and flavor. After some two weeks, the wine was pressed off the skins and racked into the French oak barrels. 14.5% ABV
Hahn Family Wines is, indeed, family-owned and operated. Founders Nicky and Gaby Hahn came to the Santa Lucia Highlands in the late 1970s. The Swiss-born couple soon recognized the region’s potential for quality wines. Nicky Hahn in 1988: “We all produce world class fruit from well managed vineyards. We deserve therefore our own recognition with our own premium price and marketable exciting appellation that wine writers can discover, laud and praise.”
The couple purchased Smith & Hook Vineyards, planted exclusively in cabernet sauvignon, in 1979. They released their first Smith & Hook cab the following year. In 1990, the Hahns realized Santa Lucia was better suited for cooler climate grapes—pinot noir and chardonnay. In 1991, Santa Lucia Highlands was awarded AVA status after heavy lobbying by Nicky. The Hahns continued to obtain Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards throughout the 1990s. They also opened a visitor center, the the Hahn Carmel tasting room in 2017.
In 2007, the Hahns turned over management of their operation to Philip Hahn after he had an eight-year career on Wall Street. Philip is the chairman today. Founder Nicolaus “Nicky” Hahn passed away in 2018. Co-founder Gaby Hahn earned law degrees in both Germany and France before focusing on wine; she pursues art appreciation and her own artistic efforts today. Hahn daughter, Caroline, holds a PhD in veterinary medicine from the University of Edinburgh and serves as an ambassador for Hahn Family Wines.
Hahn Family Wines Appellation Series GSM, Arroyo Seco 2021 is classic grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blend with the strong emphasis on grenache (70%). Black and blue fruits calmly present amid affable tannins and acidity. There is some black fruit attitude from the syrah and mourvèdre—blackberry, black plum—but, for the most part, this is built to be an amiable palate pleaser. Becomes rounder and even more approachable after some air time. Pair with rich beef dishes; pasta dishes with meat and tomato sauce; lamb; pork; wild game—venison, boar; veal; poultry could be an adventure, especially fried chicken, but roasted, smoked, or barbecued should work. Cheese—manchego, smoked gouda, cheddar, gruyère, pecorino, asiago. $18-23