23 February 2011

Hannah Nicole Vineyards

Hannah Nicole Vineyards is based in Contra Costa County, due east of San Francisco. Originally planned as an apple orchard in 1999, owners Neil and Glenda Cohn decided to switch to wine grapes and found that to be a much more successful path. The winery has grown to include facilities for weddings and other private events, and over the years they have released a wide range of styles and grapes. Here I take a look at four current releases.

2009 Hannah Nicole Sauvignon Blanc Reserve
Contra Costa County
87.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 12.5% Viognier
$22, 14.2% abv.
Lime curd and granite, with a curious burst of sweetness on the first sip. There is a grassy edge on the aftertaste, which gives it an interesting bitterness.

2009 Hannah Nicole Viognier
This is an inverse of the above wine, with 90% Viognier and 10% Sauvignon Blanc Musqué
$18, 14.7% abv.
Fairly powerful for a white, and this one also has more fruit than any Viognier I've had before. Herbs and peaches, wet rock, balanced acidity. Makes me crave some buttery scallops or a seafood bisque.

2007 Hannah Nicole Merlot Reserve
Contra Costa County
100% Merlot
$29, 14.2% abv.
Cassis, plum, none of the simple cherry flavors you might be expecting. Firm tannins and a medium body make this a decent strength Merlot. Still distinctively California, but complex enough to stand up to heartier dishes.

2007 Hannah Nicole Meritage
Contra Costa County
49% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec
$29, 14.1% abv.
Always nice to see a Meritage with all five Bordeaux red grapes represented. (Okay, so technically there are six, but Carménère is mostly a Chilean thing these days.) Leather, chocolate, green bell pepper, a whiff of cedar... All present but very mild. The tannins have mellowed a good bit, and there is a light red cherry flavor to the wine with a mild body and soft finish. I think this would be phenomenal with venison, where the vegetal and cedar character would go nicely with the game flavor.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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