After tasting Big Sur Vineyards flagship red blend, BSV Red Wine, it was clear to me that this little winery has a passion for big, bold flavors. So I will preface this post with a bit of a warning: when it comes to their Chardonnay, there’s no exception to that passion. Certainly, this is a white wine one must be in the mood for. For me, that mood came along on a crisp Fall evening when I wanted to warm myself from the inside out with a glass of wine — but was in the mood for a white wine. Enter a warm hug from Big Sur Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay. (more…)
Tag: Monterey County
Being a California native, a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, and a regular ground-stomper of Monterey County, I’m amazed I’m only now learning about Big Sur Vineyards. But, to be fair, though the winery takes the name of a famous stretch of California coast, it’s a boutique, family-run operation.
Husband and wife duo Lenora Carey and Richard Gebhardt moved to the area back in 1983 becoming purveyors of lavender, olive and citrus trees, crafting essential oils and soaps in addition to selling their fresh produce. But it wasn’t long until they became enthused about what kind of grape varieties grew well in the area. Lovers of Rhone varietals, they picked and pressed the grapes of neighbors for many years — namely Grenache, Syrah, and Petit Sirah. And so it was, when they blended these three together, the “Big Sur Red” was born.
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.
Hahn is a household name. And it should be, as the Hahn family were basically the founding vintners of Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highland AVA. Nicolaus (Nicky) and Gaby Hahn purchased their plot of SLH and planted their first vines in the 1970s, celebrating their first vintage in 1980, and in 1991 “Nicky led the charge to establish SLH as an American Viticultural Area.” Today the Hahn estate includes 650 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards.
Though you may find these wines at your local shops, you should know that Hahn is still a family owned and operated winery, with Nicky and Gaby’s son Philip at the helm. And it’s that personal, familial touch that makes these oh-so-accessible wines oh-so-special.
A wine for all seasons — that’s what the Hahn Family Wines 2016 Pinot Noir is. Though quite hearty in both flavors and textures, there’s a certain versatility that spans from summer’s BBQs and backyard parties to winter’s slow-roasted suppers next to the fire. And that’s what I expect from Hahn Family Wines’ ‘Hahn’ line of wines — an easily accessible Pinot Noir I can either drink now or save for later and not worry about seasonality when it comes to my food pairing.