Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: **** $ Hahn Estates Meritage Red Table Wine, Central Coast, California - BEST VALUE

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Original Tasting and Review, February, 2010:

By way of background: Hahn Estates Meritage Red Table Wine is from Monterey County, Central Coast of California. The 2007 vintage contains a blend of 31% merlot, 31% cabernet sauvignon, 17% petit verdot, 12% malbec, and 9% cabernet franc, and is finished at 14.5% alcohol. It is aged in 60% new French oak.  The high percentage of dark petit verdot is an interesting feature of this blend.

In the glass: Hahn Estates Meritage shows as dark, inky purple in the glass, opaque to within a half inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured without a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this meritaqe blend shows an interesting, classic Napa cabernet nose, even though the grapes are not from Napa at all.  Definite black cherry, oak and sweet black currant elements, hint of eucalyptus.  Quite a round aroma overall. 

On the palate: The first element on the palate supports that round aroma with a full, mid-mouth, sweet, mineral, black cherry coating.  It is followed by a brighter, red cherry note that climbs into your upper cheek, depositing little prickles of sweet candy cherry along the route.

And the wrap-up: The finish is defined by the sweet, bold, creamy black cherry flavor and lighter acids; these all mask out the high alcohol.  A bit of sugar does seem to hang in until the next sip.

In summary: Overall, a rich, bold, layered, totally new world experience. Rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, consistent with my tasting of the earlier 2005 vintage.  Awesome, jaw-dropping value.

Following a three-day decant under vacuum in a partially-filled bottle:  Both the nose and the palate seem to droop a bit with the decant.  Pop and drink it up quickly!

Updated review, about a year and a half later, August, 2011:  Color is now deep, muddy red, opaque from about an inch in from the edge.  Softer, more tired nose of fleshy red fruits. Palate is still quite consistent, just seems more mature and balanced overall. Just as solid now as a year and a half ago. Nicer if you prefer some aged character.  Following long decant, two days in partially filled bottle at room temperature:  Nose and palate both move slightly to the tired side of the ledger with this long a decant.  Consistent with experience a year and a half ago.  Age as long as you'd like, then drink it up quickly!

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