Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | April 8, 2010

A Great Everyday $12 California Pinot!

I have to be honest (and not just because the FTC says I have to be), tonight’s wine review is of a great California winery confident enough in their significant line of value wines that they sent The Cork Scrooge several bottles to try and review earlier this month – no strings attached.

And while I do love me some free wine, I will admit it, at first, I was a bit worried about reviewing the first bottle we cracked open – a 2007 Pinot Noir. Most readers know by now I am not a typical lover of the Pinot, and have only recently come around to the grape after tasting the works of some of the best wine makers in the world during my trip to Australia earlier this month. And in my experience, California is no Australia when it comes to this grape.

You can image my surprise when everyone who tried this bottle (including me) found it to be one of the more pleasant super value California Pinot’s on the market today. The 2007 Hahn Estates Monterey Pinot Noir hails from the winemaking house of Smith & Hook Winery who first released their vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon to high acclaim in 1980. In 1991, they expanded their branded offerings with the introduction of the Hahn Estates brand to “showcase supple, accessible, and attractively priced wines from the family’s Monterey County vineyards.”

Right from the bottle the 2007 Hahn Estates Monterey Pinot Noir had an inviting nose and an instant kick of peppery tanginess that greeted the palate. The ‘07 calmed as the wine was allowed to breathe and began a fascinating transformation throughout the tasting. The winemakers note that the 2007 Pinot “unfolds over time” and they could not be more right. Each glass tasted like it had come from an entirely different bottle as we enjoyed each new pour over the course of about an hour.

As I poured the second glass 10 minutes into our tasting, the wine had substantially mellowed into a very light and enjoyable every day red wine. To my surprise, thirty minutes in, as I poured a third glass, the Hahn had tightened up a bit, becoming a dryer, full bodied glass of wine. Aside from the value for the dollar, the tasting experience itself was good fun. The 100% pinot bottling from California’s coastal city of Monterey will surely please at around $12 a bottle.

Entirely as an aside, tomorrow I will post a short review of the winery’s Chardonnay they sent along – I don’t usually review whites but with summer around the corner I figured it couldn’t hurt to weigh in on a white varietal or two.



  1. I have been drinking Cycles Gladiator Cabs and Pinots for the last year or two. I’m from Virginia and love the Hahn winery. What do you think of Virginia wine?

    • I am hit or miss on VA wines. Have not found a good VA red I liked. Do you have any suggestions?

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