It’s Tuesday and you want a glass of wine. It’s Friday night and you’ve just ordered a pizza and — want a glass of wine. It’s Sunday and you’re having a few guests over for brunch who may just, well, want a glass of wine. Casual, everyday situations call for a glass of wine, but you don’t want to necessarily open something “special.” You want to open, what I call, a reliable “daily drinker.” And here is where Hahn excels: While they produce some magnificently refined single-vineyard expressions of their flagship varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, they also dedicate their simply stated Hahn line of wines to the daily drinker.
“I want to make wines that everybody enjoys,” says Hahn winemaker Paul Clifton. And, indeed, he does. From the elegantly balanced Lone Oak Vineyard Chardonnay under the Lucienne label, to the exclusive “tasting-room-only” Smith and Hook Cabernet — and this, supermarket staple Hahn Monterey County Chardonnay.
About the Wine: The Hahn Family Wines 2016 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Hahn estate vineyards in both the Arroyo Secco and the Santa Lucia Highlands AVAs of Monterey County. The wine was aged in French oak barrels (15% new; 85% neutral) for 5 months.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Hahn Family Wines 2016 Chardonnay and breathe in the faint aromas of apples, pears, buttermilk, and honey. This Chardonnay is a pale, pale straw color on the pour, settling into the glass just as light but more bright and somewhat sparkly — like the reflecting light off the sun-bleached sand.
Initial aromas are definitely of honey, milk or cream, vanilla, and poached apples. Swirl, and the wine releases a floral perfume complete with the aromatic petals and the “stink” of pollen. There’s just a modest level of acidity that pierces through it all.
On the palate, this Chardonnay is quite soft, texturally like cream, with a low to medium level of acidity that very delicately increases throughout the tasting. The body, too, is low to medium with dominant flavors consistent with those aromatics found on the nose with the addition of a bit more butter and baking spices. In fact, that acidity that sneakily increases brings forth just a bit of a spice kick at the end, but spices akin to those found in a poached or baked apple — think nutmeg, all spice, maybe even cardamom — not so much the spices of heat, but more of a comforting warmth that travels all the way down into the heart during this long, lovely finish.
Food Pairing: I paired the Hahn Family Wines 2016 Chardonnay with a curry-spiced chicken, saffron rice pilaf, and an arugula salad tossed with cucumber and feta. Loved this pairing. The subtle creaminess of the wine, its round and soft texture, perfectly cut through the spices on the chicken while simultaneously complementing the fluffiness of the rice. Meanwhile, those same spices seemed to elevate the fruit elements, namely the apple or pear flavors, adding a bit of natural “sweetness” to the balance of the dish. But my favorite part, honestly, was probably the salad, which worked to bring out a bit more greenery in the wine, but most importantly added a much needed freshness to the plate as a whole.
The Hahn Family Wines 2016 Chardonnay is such an easy drinker with lovely, but un-complex flavors that one can enjoyably pair it with a simple mid-week meal (soup and sandwich, chicken salad, even pizza) and be satisfied.
More Info: Click to learn more about Hahn Family Wines and the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.
I received the Hahn Family Wines 2016 Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers Megan!) Retail: $15. For more information about Hahn, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Hahn Family Wines website.
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