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Hahn Estates Central Coast Meritage 2006

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    Hahn Estates 2006 Central Coast Meritage
    When I pour wines at tastings, I frequently encounter people who refuse to try Merlot… any Merlot at all. And they always fit the same profile: in a group three or more people, consider themselves true connoisseurs, and are considered the expert by the rest of the group. After years of observing this, I have come to a few conclusions: they declare Merlot as "too bourgeois" to drink as a public display of their superiority, they have never actually had a decent Merlot, and that they probably wouldn't know a good Merlot if it jumped up and bit them on the ass. As a wine professional, it is my solemn duty to educate people about all kinds of wine, Merlot being no exception. That is why the Hahn Estates Meritage is such a wonderful vehicle for this purpose. Ever since joining the winery back in 2001, I have chosen to use Merlot from our Santa Lucia Highlands Deer Valley vineyard as the primary varietal in this Bordeaux-style blend. It is perfectly suited for the mission. The grapes from this protected cooler climate vineyard yield a wine that expresses a broad cherry core, moderate grainy tannins, and superb length. The addition of Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Petit Verdot (19%), Cabernet Franc (11%), and Malbec (7%) in supporting roles only add layers of flavors on top of what the Merlot (33%) provides. I think this wine really shows what this grape is capable of when grown in the right climate and soil. So when the snob convinces his or her group to prematurely dismiss our Merlot and asks to sample the next wine in the line-up, I pour the Meritage, avoiding any reference to the varietal makeup of the wine. After the "connoisseur" delivers the usually glowing commentary complete with poetic descriptors, I say for everyone to hear, "congratulations, you just had Merlot. Now would you like to try our Syrah?"
    The 2006 growing season was dry and consistent. Most of our vines hit full maturity about three weeks later than the norm. The extra hang time allowed for darker colors and slightly lower acids which resulted in fatter flavors than typical. The Petit Verdot vines off of the Sereno Vista Vineyard in Paso Robles hit full maturity so we were able to get a standard sized crop for the first time. I love this wine and so put a considerable amount into the final blend. The added tannins from this varietal allowed me to lower the percentage of our tannic Deer Valley Vineyards Merlot. As always, I try to piece together a wine that respects the core attributes of the latter. This wasn't too hard given the intense flavors of the vintage. As I put my nose into glass of the 2006 Meritage, I can pick out the distinct characteristics of Merlot, but there are other interesting notes as well: cherry, currant, and dried herbs with a hint of cedar. On the palate, the wine starts with various red fruits that transition towards blueberry and plum at the back end. There is an ethereal wisp of thyme that runs alongside the delicate spice of French oak. Moderate tannins develop just into what becomes a fairly lengthy finish. As an accompaniment, I recommend barbeque pork ribs, roast duck and plum sauce, or spaghetti and Italian sausage. —Adam LaZarre Winemaker
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    Technical Data

    Central Coast

    Varietal Composition
    33% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petite Verdot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec

    Brix at Harvest

    11 months in 69% new French, 16% neutral French, and 15% one-year old French barrels

    Total Acidity
    0.63 gm/100ml

    Total pH

    Residual Sugar


    Release Date
    November 30, 2007

    Cases Produced

    Bottle Size
    750 ml

    Suggested Retail Price
    $ 20.00

    Posted by thewinery on February 26th, 2008 at 7:26pm | report comment

    Color: Dark garnet

    Nose: Some green vegetal notes here, but then darker scents of mushroom and truffle, then darker raspberry and black fruit.

    Palate: Big cherry and good acidity, some good grip, as well. Full mouth, finishing with raspberry and spicy oak and more dustier cherry.

    Posted by drxeno on November 16th, 2008 at 12:22am | report comment

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