Visit the gorgeous Hahn Family Wines in the Santa Lucia Highlands near Carmel-by-the-Sea and you may get lucky enough to take an ATV up to one of the highest points overlooking the estate. Trying the spectacular single-vineyard Lucienne wines while perched above the vines is a unique lesson in how climate and terroir influence the fickle Pinot Noir grape.
Visiting the barrel room to taste samples of 2014 and the recent 2015 vintage after a delicious lunch of Sablefish and pork medallions with even more Pinot Noir and some fantastic Chardonnay does not prepare you to find a set of bagpipes propped on a barrel. When asked, jokingly, to play the complicated instrument winemaker Greg Freeman, picked them up. Wow. Talented winemaker that spent time in a rock band and learned to make wine on the job after he found a job as a chemist in Hahn’s lab. What a journey for Freeman and the winery in general.
Hahn invested early in the Santa Lucia Highlands and the wines show it. The winery was instrumental in getting the appellation its AVA status and, in fact, has branded a series of small production wines as SLH. These mid-range wines reflect the early morning fog that burns off to clear skies which ripen the grapes over a longer than usual hang time. The wines reflect a ripe and fruity profile and even the winery’s entry-level Hahn wines are well-made quaffers.
The Lucienne Pinot Noir “Doctor’s” vineyard with its blackberry, strawberry and blueberry notes with touches of rose and spice was a standout. The Lucienne Pinot Noir “Lone Oak” Vineyard is more caramelized and baked fruit with smoky and pretty tobacco. Both wines retail at a reasonable $50 and truly deliver. Hahn also makes a Lucienne “Lone Oak” Chardonnay and Lucienne “Smith Vineyard” and “Hook Vineyard” Pinot Noirs. All sophisticated and elegant special evening wines which are also highly rated by Wine Spectator and other publications.
Visit the Santa Lucia Highlands and discover the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula and charming town of Carmel and experience wines that over deliver and maybe meet a few quirky winemakers along the way.