Vintages Uncorked: A Cellar Tasting with Hawk Haven’s Winemaker

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One thing we always say at Hawk Haven is that every great wine has a story. And every once in a while, we get the opportunity to replay those stories when we uncork a bottle that we’ve kept hidden away for a certain period of time.

I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult to hold on to a bottle of wine. I bought it because it was good, I want to drink it now! And most of the wines here at Hawk Haven are just right to open and enjoy. But there are a few that benefit beautifully from some additional cellaring, some up to 10-15 years.

Luckily our Winemaker Todd had the foresight to stash away a few bottles for all of us. That means YOU too! And we (the Hawk Haven staff) got the chance to try some cellared wines a few days before they will be released to the public for two days only during our Cellar Wine Tasting on January 16th & 17th, 2016.

2012 Signature Series Chardonnay

Cellar6Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Aging: 7 months French Oak
Alcohol: 13.5%
Bottle Date: April 2013
Production: 495 bottles
Tasting Notes: When this wine was first released in 2013, flavors of dried mango and vanilla filled the palate. Todd had carefully chosen specific clones of the Chardonnay grape, known as “Dijon clones,” as he was looking for a lower-yielding, more flavor-concentrated cluster of fruit. He definitely chose well, because almost three years later this wine has really blossomed. Those vanilla notes gained a pleasant creamy quality, and the mango evolved into caramelized pineapple and lemon creme brulée.

2008, 2009,  & 2010 Merlot

Cellar10Blend: 100% Merlot
Aging: ’08- 21 months French Oak
’09- 20 months French Oak
’10- 23 months French Oak
Alcohol: 13.9%
Bottle Date: ’08- July 14, 2010
’09- August 5, 2011
’10- July 2012
Production: ’08- 119 cases
’09- 84 cases
’10- 130 cases
Tasting Notes: Plum, cherry, and strawberry were all common denominators when these wines were originally released. The ’08 was marked by rich fruit and soft tannins. The ’09 was more aromatic with a peppery finish. And the ’10 was a nice balance of berry and spice. Tasting the 2008 Merlot now, the jamminess is stillCellar24 there on the nose, but now with an earthiness and notes of chocolate and cedar spice. But on the palate the fruit gently fades into elegant tannins. The 2009 still has some opening up to do, so now is a great time to get a few bottles for cellaring. Where the ’08 is more refined, the ’09 is bold and vibrant. The body is heavier, with more lush black fruit, a finish of mint leaf, and an oaky thread throughout. And finally, the 2010 Merlot is “super fruity” (that is very advanced wine terminology right there) with notes of strawberry preserves, leather, and bright fruit. The ’08 and ’10 vintages are prime for drinking now, but the ’09 will definitely benefit from additional aging.

2008, 2009, 2010 Talon

Cellar20Blend: ’08- 50% Merlot, 50% Syrah
’09- 47% Sangiovese, 34% Merlot, 19% Syrah
’10-33% Sangiovese, 33% Merlot, 33% Syrah
Aging: ’08- 24 months French Oak
’09- 20 months French Oak
’10-23 months French Oak
Alcohol: 13.4%
Bottle Date: ’08- December 14, 2010
’09- August 5, 2011
’10- July 2012
Production: ’08- 85 cases
’09- 122 cases
’10- 208 cases
Tasting Notes: The wines in our Talon label have always been known for being bold and jammy, and time has only improved on these qualities with an added elegance and smooth palate. Looking through the winemaker’s original notes when these wines were first released, I see a lot of words like blueberry pie, strawberry jam, cherry, and spice. Fast-forward to theCellar21 present and those somewhat astringent qualities have softened; we perceived leather, nuttiness, and caramel. The 2008 Talon has cherry and sweet spice aromas with a full palate spectrum of mint leaf to strawberry jam with a bright rush of tart cherry towards the finish. The berry notes in the 2009 are more on the tangy side; think blackberry and raspberry, with a leathery front palate of cranberry sauce. The ’10 has a softer nose, not quite as aromatic as the Merlot, but the palate really builds through the finish with nice tannins and a hint of sour cherry.

CONCLUSION

IMG_7275There was a definite consistency in the vintages with the Merlot and Talon. “You can find the terroir from year to year,” says Lou, our assistant winemaker, “These wines are alive.” The 2008 vintages are now more elegant and refined with softer tannins while the 2009’s are bigger and more robust. For all of the wines, from the Chardonnay to the Merlot to the Talon, you can absolutely sense the passage of time. When they were bottled, the fruity notes were packed in tightly with more pronounced qualities from the barrel. Once the wine got used to its new home, the fruit lost its inhibitions and rushed to the forefront. Now, time has allowed the flavors of fruit and oak to marry, and what a beautiful marriage it is!

We hope you will join us this Saturday & Sunday (January 16th & 17th, 2016) for our Cellar Tasting featuring all of these wines plus a bonus wine from our Signature Series collection! The Cellar Tasting is $20 a person and includes a souvenir glass. All of the wines will be available for purchase at the tasting room this weekend only. These wines are in limited quantity and won’t last long so be sure to get them while you can!

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