2014 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A smokin' effort, as well as a terrific value, the 2014 Pinot Noir Hahn SLH (mostly from the Smith Vineyard) offers classic notes of forest floor, toasted spice, licorice and tons of Pinot Noir fruit in its medium-bodied, textured and layered profile. At 30 bucks, I'm hard pressed to come up with a better value in Pinot Noir. Drink this pleasure bent beauty over the coming 4-5 years. An estate that has hit another level of quality over the past few vintages, Hahn Family Wines focuses on estate vineyards in both the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Arroyo Seco Valley. The wines are made by Paul Clifton, everything is destemmed and aging occurs all in French oak. The big change recently is the moving of their limited-production, single vineyard releases to their Lucienne label. These are all made in tiny, 80- to 600-case quantities and are beautiful wines. In addition, their entry level wines and the new SLH releases (which are a blend of the single vineyards) are absolutely worth checking out.
The texture is plush, with lots of complex flavors, ranging from plum to anise to dusty, cedary oak. Satisfying from start to finish, ending with dusty, nutmeg-scented tannins. (JL)
*Editors' Choice* This is a lot of heady wine for a relatively affordable price. Aromas of black-cherry syrup, baked black plum, nutmeg, clove and gingerbread make for an attention-grabbing nose. The hearty palate shows similar elements, along with black peppercorn, Christmas spice, dense blackberry paste, chaparral scrub and pine-forest notes.
Complex dark fruit aromas with toasted oak and mineral notes and nuances of tobacco. Zesty, intense palate of raspberry coulis, a touch of oak, soft tannins, and acidity that is refreshingly clean and long.
Dark red. Lively red berry and cherry pit aromas are complemented by suggestions of candied rose and anise. Juicy and sharply focused, offering bitter cherry and licorice pastille flavors and a refreshing touch of blood orange. Shows very good energy and spicy on the clinging finish, which is given shape by smooth tannins.
$20 Pinot Noir is a competitive category, but not always tops with the critics: if the wines are praised, more often than not it's in the "great for weeknight pizza" category. But venerable Central Coast producer Hahn is doing a stand-up job with their Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir.