Although we’re finally beyond the thick of summer, it is still pretty hot out there for many folks and it probably goes without saying that with the fall equinox next week, it’s time to truly transition to cooler evenings, getting cozy with a favorite book and warming up with a glass of delicious Pinot Noir. These thoughts have us daydreaming with visions of cool, coastal climates, layers of fog dissipating from steeper slopes as strong breezes sweep through the small, but mighty Santa Lucia Highlands, a narrow, 18-mile-long coastal region tucked along the western hills of Monterey’s Salinas Valley.

Did you know that the Hahn family were among the first to grow wine grapes here in the late 1970s and were instrumental in the region becoming designated an official American Viticultural Area in 1991? Hahn was also one of the first wineries in the region to have all its estate vineyards certified under the rigorous Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Program, a strict third-party program that sets the gold standard for sustainable certification. Today, celebrating their 40th anniversary, Hahn Estate operates as a 100% solar-powered winery. This wine is sourced from Hahn’s four estate vineyards — Lone Oak, Doctor’s, Smith and Hook that truly exemplify the flavors and elegance of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Paul continues to handpick barrels he believes best exemplify the aromas and flavors of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir.

But of course, it is France that also brings thoughts of Pinot Noir. We tried a delicious and affordable one, Bistro Pinot Noir, and it is delicious!

Enjoy these wines as the weather starts to cool!

Hahn’s SLH Pinot Noir 2019 and

Hahn Appellation Series Pinot Noir — Arroyo Seco

Vineyards planted in the Santa Lucia Highlands experience a long and dry growing season that results in wines with remarkable depth, complexity and ripe fruit flavors. Hahn’s SLH vineyards — Lone Oak, Doctor’s, Smith and Hook — are planted on a narrow bench at elevations ranging from 200 to 1,200 feet above sea level. Here, plentiful sun and well-drained soils aid concentration and flavor development. About average winter rainfall provided good soil moisture profile for the start of the growing season. Budbreak started the last week of February, mostly in younger blocks, with the rest popping out mid-March. Canopies were at arm’s length by the end of April with no signs of cap fall until the middle of May. Veraison started slightly later than normally, toward the end of July, which led to a later start of harvest. The weekend of 9/14, they had a heat spike, but after three days, the weather returned to normal. The harvest started fast, but overall had a beautiful even pace with cool nights and moderate daytime temperatures throughout the end of season. The quality of the fruit was outstanding, resulting in wine with beautiful color, concentrated flavors, balanced tannins, round mouthfeel and soft acidity. After the fruit has been carefully picked and sorted, it is fermented in open top stainless-steel tanks. It then ages for 14 months in a selection of small, 60-gallon French oak barrels. When the wine is ready to be blended, our winemaker selects only those barrels that exemplify the aromas and flavors of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Red ruby in the glass, this wine opens with aromas of red cherry, blackberry and hints of earthiness and toasty oak. The palate is rich, with refined tannins, balanced acidity and flavors of red fruit, cherry, raspberry and notes of vanilla and plum on a long complex finish.


At a Glance

Hahn SLH Pinot Noir — Santa Lucia Highlands

Profile: This wine opens with aromas of red cherry, blackberry, and slight hints of earthiness and toasted oak. Introducing the 2019 Hahn SLH Pinot Noir.

Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands

Vintage: 2019

SRP: $30

Hahn Appellation Series Pinot Noir — Arroyo Seco

Profile: Pinot Noir grapes, soured from certified sustainable Ste. Phillipe estate vineyard located in the Southeast corner of Arroyo Seco, enjoy an extended growing season, and produce a complex, nuanced wine. Located south of the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco is one of the smallest AVAs in California, boasting one of the longest growing seasons in the state due to cool winds that blow in daily from the Monterey Bay. Subtle aromas of ripe red fruit and roasted coffee. On the palate, soft, delicate flavors of dark cherry mingle with an elegant touch of spice and a lingering finish.

Appellation: Arroyo Seco

Vintage: 2019

SRP: $25

Bistro Pinot Noir

This delicious wine is 100% Pinot Noir from the South of France and Corsica. The Pinot Noir grape variety, originally from Burgundy, gives also its best in Corsica and Southern France. Drinkers will take note of intense aromas of bright cherry and vanilla on the nose; a good structure on palate, a well-balanced wine with a lingering finish. Bistro Pinot Noir has great packaging reminiscent of the typical Parisian Bistro and brasserie style with a screw cap enclosure for convenience. It is vegan friendly in a product of sustainable farming. $14.99

Cynthia Calvert
Author: Cynthia CalvertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A trained journalist with a masters degree from Lamar University, a masters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, as well as extensive coursework toward a masters of science in psychology from the University of New Orleans, Calvert founded the Tribune Newspapers in 2007. Her experiences as an investigative, award winning reporter (She won Journalist of the Year from the Houston Press Club among many other awards for reporting and writing), professor and chair of the journalism department for Lone Star College-Kingwood and vice president of editorial for a large group of community weeklies provides her with a triple dose of bankable skills that cover every aspect of the journalism field. Solid reporting. Careful interviews. Respect and curiosity for people and places.

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