Hahn Family Wines Appellation Series Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco 2021

Medium ruby color; black cherry, plum, red berries, oak, spice on the nose; cherry, raspberry, plum, cola, menthol, vanilla, spice on the palate.

Hahn Family Wines Appellation Series Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco 2021

Dry; mild tannins and easy-going, balancing acidity (3.74 pH). Smooth and delicious. Correct for a California pinot noir at this price point. Pinot noir grapes picked in early morning, then destemmed into stainless steel tanks and fermented for two weeks. Pump overs several times a day for color, aromatic, flavor. Juice then pressed off the skins and racked into French oak barrels, 30% new, for 11 months of aging. 14.5% ABV

Grapes primarily came from Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. 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 contribute to intensity and balanced ripeness.

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.

Hahn Family Wines Nicky Hahn soon after purchasing Smith & Hook Vineyards
Hahn Family Wines chairman Philip Hahn

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 co-founder Gaby Hahn
Hahn Family Wines ambassador Caroline Hahn

Hahn Family Wines Appellation Series Pinot Noir, Arroyo Seco 2021 is tasty, easily approachable Santa Lucia Highlands pinot. Soft and forgiving on the plate. Engaging fruit easily invites a second glass of satisfying sipping. Works well with food. Pair with salmon and other fleshy fish; steamed mussels and other shellfish; pork; freshwater fish. Cheese—fresh cheeses, mixed milk cheeses, soft goat cheeses; burrata, mozzarella, feta, mascarpone, rocchetta. $22-25

Hahn Wines website

Hahn Family Wines vineyard
Hahn Family Wines Ste. Nicolas vineyard
Hahn Family Wines founder Nicky Hahn (1936-2018)