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Hahn Estates is located on the Monterey Coast in the Santa Lucia Highlands and sources grapes from estate owned vineyards and non-winery owned vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco appellations of Monterey County. Nicolaus Hahn is a Swiss businessman who became enamored with California wine, began planting vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands in the 1970s, and purchased the Smith & Hook Winery in 1980. In 1991 he created the Hahn Estate brand.
In German, Hahn means “rooster,” and the rooster is prominently displayed on the Hahn Estate label. In 2000, the winery and vineyards underwent a large-scale renovation under the direction of president Bill Leigon. Hahn Family Wines now makes wines under Hahn Estate, Smith & Hook, Huntington Wine Cellars and Cycles Gladiator labels. HRM Rex Goliath was sold to Constellation Brands in 2004.
In 2009, new labels were introduced including Hahn SLH wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, Lucienne (a high-end Pinot Noir) and Bin 36 (includes Pinot Noir among several varieties). The SLH Pinot Noir and Chardonnay emphasize and promote the Santa Lucia Highlands where the wines are grown. The label clearly differentiates the Hahn Winery core tier from the Hahn SLH tier.
The winery has about 650 acres of vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands as well as 350 acres in Arroyo Seco and 160 acres in Paso Robles bringing the total to 1,200 acres. The winery did not have a single Pinot Noir vine in 2000, but is now a leading producer of Pinot Noir and supplier of Pinot Noir to many other wineries. Nicky Hahn led the multi year campaign to establish the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation which was actualized in 1991.
The current winemaker is Paul Clifton. Clifton learned winemaking under veteran Don Blackburn at both Bernardus Winery and Byington Winery. After obtaining a graduate degree focused on cool climate viticulture from Lincoln University in New Zealand, he started at Hahn Estates in late 2002 and worked himself up to head winemaker. Winemaking is traditional and aging is carried out in new and neutral French oak for 10 months.
The wines are sold on the website in addition to retail distribution. The tasting room at the winery is open daily (11:00 - 4:00 Monday-Friday and 11:00-5:00 on weekends). Hahn's Vineyard House adjacent the visitor center seats up to 28 in a beautiful dining room with view of the surrounding mountains and Monterey Bay. The venue hosts parties, chef's dinners or other epicurean events overseen by Director of Culinary Wine Sales and Chef Brian Overhauser.
Hahn Estates is an excellent value-play Pinot Noir to buy by case. The higher-end line of Pinot Noirs, Lucienne, are outstanding. Total production of all wines is about 400,000 cases annually, 29th largest production in North America.
2015 Hahn SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.60, 11,610 cases, $25. 94% Lone Oak Vineyard. Released November 2016. Whole cluster pressed and fermented and aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 33% new and 67% neutral. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Nicely appointed aromas of lemon oil, spiced apple, pineapple, buttery brioche and nutty oak. Sleek in the mouth, with satisfying flavors of lemon, Golden Delicious apple and pear with deft oak input. Impressive balance with a quenching finish. Highly recommended at this price point. Score: 90. Reviewed June 4, 2017
2015 Hahn SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
15.0% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 13,941 cases, $30. Released November 2016. Fermented in open-top stainless steel tanks, aged for up to 12 months in French oak barrels, 33% new and 67% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry jam, mocha and toasty oak. Richly endowed in a mid weight plus style, featuring black raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors framed by prominent oak embellishment. Velveteen in texture, with balanced tannins and a modest fruit driven finish. Score: 88. Reviewed June 4, 2017
2012 Hahn Winery California Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $9.99. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of cigar oak dominant the nose. Flavors of oak-laced black cherries and tobacco with good fruit concentration and mild tannins. Full-bodied but not redeeming. Score: 82. Reviewed December 19, 2013 ARTICLE »
2012 Hahn SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $35. Estate grown and produced. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The scents of oakkissed black cherry carry over onto the palate with the addition of complimentary spice and toast. A solid, mid weight wine that has reasonably good structure and concentration and is easy to drink. Score: 87. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2011 Hahn Estate SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.62, 5,000 cases, $35. Released October 2012. Sourced from four estate vineyards (Smith, Doctor’s, Hook and Lone Oak). Clones are 113, 115, 667, 777, 2A, Mt. Eden, Pommard 5, Jackson 9. 100% de-stemmed, aged 11 months in 40% new and 60% neutral French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromatically stellar from the get go with scents of black cherry, black raspberry, spice and a touch of smoky oak. Easy to like on the moderately lush palate with a core of black cherry fruit wrapped in gentle tannins, showing an undercurrent of smoky oak and anise. A forward drinking wine that is quite enjoyable. Score: 88. Reviewed November 9, 2013 ARTICLE »
2010 Hahn Winery Monterey Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.58, $7.99 (full retail is $12). · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very enticing aromas of crushed black raspberries, black cherries, cardamom and Asian 5-spice, smoky oak, and a floral riff. Delicious sweet black cherry flavor with a hint of oak-derived flavors of vanilla and smoke in the background. Light in weight showing good finesse and a striking cherry-soaked finish. My wife is a cherry freak and loved this wine. The wine was still solid the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Amazing wine for this price. Imagine, a case for less than a C-note. Very good. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »
2010 Hahn Winery SLH Chardonnay
14.0% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.76, $12. Aged in 18% new French oak. · Light straw color in the glass. Delicate but pleasing aromas of pears, white peaches, cream soda, honey, caramel and pineapple. Very lightly weighted but tasty, with clean and bright baked pear, fig and banana flavors leaving behind an impression of lemon meringue. You won’t find a better Chardonnay at this price in the marketplace. Good. Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Hahn Estate SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.60, $25. 65% Lone Oak Vineyard and 35% Hook Ranch Vineyard. A blend of clones 76 and 96. 100% barrel fermented. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of melon, lemon curd, honey and petrichor fading a bit over time in the glass. Reserved, medium-bodied and a bit thin in the middle, but offering tasty baked pear and white peach flavors with a hint of baking spice that linger awhile on the finish. Seamless and easy to drink. Good (+). Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2010 Hahn Estate SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.81, TA 0.62, $35. 65% Doctor’s Vineyard, 22% Smith Vineyard and 13% Lone Oak Vineyard. Clones are Pommard 5, 667, 777, 115 and 2A. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very enticing nose offering bright aromas of black cherry liquor, sassafras, toasted brioche and oak spice. Delicious essence of fresh black cherries with impressive mid palate presence. Relatively full-bodied with mild dusty tannins. Accents of red velvet cake and cola add interest. Drinking nicely now. Very good. Reviewed January 11, 2012 ARTICLE »
2009 Hahn Estate SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.59, $25. Aged in 42% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of golden apples, apple crisp, pears and butter with a heavy nod to oak over time in the glass. Tasty array of flavors including baked apples, pastry cream, toffee and vanilla. A solid drinker. Good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »
2009 Hahn SLH Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.62, $35. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark purple-red color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, boysenberry, kirsch, toasted bread and oak char. Moderately rich core of juicy dark red fruits with thick oak flavors. Decent. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »
2006 Hahn Estates Monterey Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $15 ($23 at winery). Sourced from estate vineyards MontereyCounty. The label sports a rooster (“hahn” in German). Aged 10 months in 65% new French oak. · Initially there is a lovely cherry scented nose with accents of earth, clove and smoke. With time in the glass, smoky oak dominates the fruit. Medium-weighted sweet black cherry fruit is accented with raspberry, raisin and even pear. Silky textured and nicely balanced with moderate length to the appealing finish. Reviewed November 17, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Hahn SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $25. A mid-tier release aged in 50% new French oak. · On the nose, the toasty oak dominates the fruit and becomes even more oaky with time in the glass. On the palate, the attack features oak-toned cherry and berry fruit of medium weight. The tar and charcoal secondary flavors derived from oak detract from the pretty fruit core. Not anything like I remember when tasted at the 2009 World of Pinot Noir. Decent (-). Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »
2005 Hahn Estates Monterey Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 22,000 cases, $23. The Hahn Estates is located on the Monterey Coast in the Santa Lucia Highlands and sources grapes from estate owned vineyards and non-winery owned vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco appellations of Monterey County. Nicolaus Hahn is a Swiss businessman who became enamored with California wine and purchased the Smith & Hook Winery in 1980. In 1991 he created the Hahn Estate brand. In German, Hahn means “rooster,” and the rooster is prominently displayed on the Hahn Estate label. In 2000, the winery and vineyards underwent a large-scale renovation under the direction of president Bill Leigon. The winery’s labels now include Hahn Estate, Smith & Hook, Red Flyer and Cycles Gladiator (HRM Rex Goliath was sold to Constellation Brands in 2005). The current winemaker is Adam LaZarre and consulting enologist is Barry Gnekow. This wine won Best of Class at the California State Fair. Winemaking is traditional and aging is carried out in new and neutral French oak for 10 months. The fruit for this wine came from the Santa Lucia Highlands. · Lovely, clean aromatics of fresh cherries and strawberries. Red fruit driven with deft use of oak, a pillowy texture, and perfect balance. I plan to make this my house Pinot. Astonishing quality at this production level and price point. The 2006 vintage was tasted by another panel and equally well-received. Reviewed December 16, 2007 ARTICLE »