I’m a mom!

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Ok well, no not really, but I made you look right?  Seriously though, I have my own baby!  My own little baby itty bitty delicious not yet fruit bearing vine! At the graciousness of Hahn Family Wines, a group of bloggers got together and planted The Bloggers Block, at Hahn Family Winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  The good folks at Hahn dedicated 1.5 acres of prime Santa Lucia Highlands land to the Bloggers Block, proving themselves as a shining light in the dark path of new media adoption in the wine business. Soledad is about 2.5 hours south of San Francisco, so I got myself up  nice and early on a Saturday and heaviliy caffinated myself.  I stopped by to pick up a Winehiker (no no not a HITCHhiker!) and we hightailed it down 101, through the rolling hills of San Benito County, and through the lettuce fields of Salinas.  As we drove through the flatlands of the Salinas valley, I was struck with how litlte it has changed since East of Eden. The cool foggy overcast was driving inland, and I wasn’t entirely convinced we’d have sunshine for our day in the vineyards.  Finally, as we popped in to the Santa Lucia Highlands, the sun came out.  Past veggie farms and up to the west side of the valley, we found the Hahn driveway and slowly drove up the hill.  Every few feet I had to stop and say “ohhh lookie!” because it was so stunning.  Finally, at the top of the hill, we found a little yellow house at the top of a vineyard, which is now the tasting room.  Being the first to arrive, we stopped to breathe the fresh air and look at the view before being enthusiastically greeted by Philip Woodrow, Hahn Family Wines Director of Marketing and Communications. Philip has only been in this role for a few months, but he has taken it on with a gusto and has made blogger a welcome and integral part of the Hahn family.  Once inside the tasting room, Philip pointed out our snack of Huntington Sauvignon Blanc, one of my personal faves, and  Hahn SLH Chardonay, paired with some lovely cheese and nibbles.  We waited for our posse to arrive, Russ and I chatted with Andy Mitchell (Director Vineyard Operations) and Paul Clifton (adorable winemaker at Hahn Estates), as well as Philip. From there, we went down to the Bloggers Block, which is at 720 feet, and we were planting some delicious Pinot Noir, clone 828.  We even got the exact location of the block, so we can keep track of it on Google Earth!  Yes, we are geeks.  You can keep track too, with the flyover file here.  In the dirt, the vineyard manager explained to us that the vines we were planting were on 3309C rootstock.  We were given specific instructions to dig our holes 12 inches deep, where we would then drop a nutrient teabag in the bottom, and stick our vines […]

What happens in Napa, stays in Napa. And the blogesphere. And Twitterverse.

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This past Sunday, I was fortunate enough to have my Luscious Lush self and my big mouth invited to a blogger panel discussion, hosted by Lisa de Bruin (@winedivergirl) of Hahn Estates.  At this discussion were several fellow bloggers and industry folks, as well as a large contingent of the Hahn team, who were on hand to discuss their wines as well as how they can more effectively interact with us wine blogger types. First, let me get this out of the way.  I am going to talk about some wines.  I am going to talk about some Hahn Estates wines.  These wines were tasted at a hosted event, but these comments express ONLY my opinions.  I am choosing to write about the wines that stood out in my memory as being exceptional or noteworthy, because i like to share things I like.  Moving right along then! In attendance, we had the following bloggers: JJ Bagley and Alan Kropf of Mutineer Magazine Laura Wagren of 1000 Corks Xandria & Liza of The Brix Chicks (@lorzandra & @brixchick_liza) Ward Kadel of WineLog (@drxeno) Shana Ray of Shana; not out on VHS yet (@sharayray) Chris Butts of the The Kilted Blog (@chrisbutts) Sam Ackman of 1000 Corks Chris Oggenfuss of Vintuba (@vintuba) Russ Beebe of California Wine Hikes (@winehiker) Additionally, we had two wineries represented, which added a unique perspective. Jeff Stai, Owner Twisted Oak Winery and winery blogger on El Bloggo Torcido (@eljefetwisted) Judd Wallenbrock of Humanitas Wines and Michel-Schlumberger, winery blogger of Drink Charitably (@humanitas) From Hahn, we had: Andy Mitchell, Director of Vineyard Operations Adam Lazarre, Winemaker Bill Leigon, President Evelyn Pool, VP of Marketing Lisa Adams Walter, PR (@lisaadamswalter) and of course, our illustrious hostess herself – Lisa de Bruin, Director of New Media Marketing (@winedivergirl) This event was envisioned by Lisa de Bruin, with a lot of input from various bloggers and industry folks, as an opportunity to open the dialogue between wineries and bloggers.  This has been something of a challenge in recent weeks, and has incited some rioting (friendly fire only!).  Before the lively discussion started, however, we were treated to a tasting of some of the Bin 36 and Lucienne offerings.  Below are my notes from my favorites: 2006 Lucienne Pinot Noir, Lone Oak Vineyard Rich ruby color.  Rich without being sweet or overdone.  Black cherry, earth.  Strawberry fruit rollup, cherry and plum.  Tastes slightly salty. The Lone Oak Vineyard is in an area of the Santa Lucia Highlands that produces world class pinot noir.  Case in point, Lone Oak actually sits between Gary’s Vineyard and Rosellas Vineyard, which are both well known in pinot circles for producing some cult pinot noirs. We also tasted the 2006 Lucienne Pinot Noir, Doctors Vineyard This had a much chewier mouth feel, with black raspberry and Bing cherries, followed by plums and earthy spice flavors. I enjoyed both of these pinots very much, and would say that for drinking along, Doctors is a great choice.  If you […]

WordPress ate my homework…Give them a Hahn!

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Last Saturday, a group of bloggers and I got together to participate in Twitter Taste Live, Bloggers Take Over.  Twitter Taste Live is an opportunity for Tweeple (or Twits as I prefer to call them) to taste the same wines at the same time, and Tweet (or blog or video) about them communally.  This is a chance for a larger community to taste collectively, regardless of their physical location. For this TTL, we had the opportunity to pick our own wines.  As most of us had gone to the Wine Bloggers Conference, we were lucky enough to have blogger samples of Hahn Estates wines to taste.  Since this was a Blogger’s Chocie TTL, I thought that it was a great opportunity to pool our samples and get together as a group to taste.  There were four bloggers, a hapless victim, and a lot of wine!  Joining me in our mad adventure were The Brix Chicks, Liza & Xandria, DrXeno of WineLog, and James, a friend who I managed to convince to join Twitter for the occasion.  If you haven’t followed these guys on Twitter, go ahead!  It’s fun! The Hahn Estates wine company has several brands.  One of my personal favorites is Huntington Wine Cellars, part of the Front Street Five (or is it 6 now?) on the south side of Healdsburg.  For this tasting, we were given blogger samples of the Hahn Estates and Hahn SLH lines, and we were happy to taste through and provided our feedback.  Also participating in our tasting were Russ, the Winehiker , and Matt, who enjoys Babbling about NOthing as well as having A Good Time with Wine.  They weren’t in the room, but they were tasting along, which is the entire purpose of Twitter Taste Live. 2007 SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Gris – lemonade, refreshing.  Tons of citrus and tropical fruit.  Nice round mouthfeel, not super crisp, nicely balanced with some creaminess and flavors of pinkgrapefruit. B+ 2006 SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay – Meyer lemon, tangerine, spicy oak. Very spicy, tastes overdone on the oak.  Lemon curd, maybe custard? C+ It’s too spicy and oaky for my taste in Chardonnay. 2006 Monterey Pinot Noir – Mushrooms, bark, forest floor.  very earthy spice pinot with a lot of evergreen…ceder? Lots of baking spice and cloves on the pinot, but has a finish that is a bit bitter and not very long.  B 2006 Central Coast Meritage – Very nice dusty cabernet nose. Very fruity, a lot of plum & blackberry on the front palate.  Long cab franc finish, but not very deep, with hints of plum tarte. Blend is 33% Merlot, 30% Cab Sav, 19% Pet Verdot, 11% cab franc, 7% malbec. Not very interesting but great value at $10.99. C+ 2006 SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah – This is a deep dark brooding man.  Lots of dusy blackberry on the nose. Tons of chocolate on the palate with blackberry pie and ripe plums. Definately a cool climate syrah that tickles […]