John Poplin on March 25, 2016 0 Comments As the United States has become the number one consumer of wine globally, it’s often habit to look for something new and exciting to keep the wine tasting palate appeased. But then there are those tried and true brands, those ones commonly seen on the retail shelves of our local stores, that certainly deserve another look, especially when their prices meet the needs of the casual drinker: this one coming in under $20.00 retail. Read on to learn more about the notable qualities of the 2014 Hahn Estate GSM. About Hahn Estate Established in 1980 by the husband and wife team of Nicolaus (who goes by Nicky) and Gaby, Hahn has remained family owned and operated in the beautiful hills of Monterey County, California for thirty five years. When the pair first decided to relocate from Europe to California, their main concern was about raising livestock; however, it turned out that their secondary decision of planting vineyards is what ultimately paid off for them. As their love for the region developed, Nicky became very involved with the campaign to get the Santa Lucia Highlands recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1990. Today, the family owns 650 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards on the southeastern end of the Salinas Valley, which is roughly ten percent of the Santa Lucia Highlands region’s total acreage. Nicky and Gaby’s son, Phillip, has since taken the reigns of the Estate with the help of fellow winemakers Paul Clifton and Greg Freeman, and they continue to produce and ship quality wines from their vineyard to an international audience of consumers. Four of their estates are located in the world renowned Santa Lucia Highland A.V.A., and the other two are located in the neighboring Arroyo Seco appellation. As the family continues to look at the long term of their estate and wines, the Hahn vineyards are certified under the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) standards, focusing on water and soil conservation, energy efficiency, and utilizing animals such as owls, bats, and falcons to naturally manage pests in the vineyards. Photo Credit: Hahn Family Wines The Hahn Estate GSM As the region is primarily known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it was the fact that this wine was a blend that caught my eye and piqued my interest. Though I’m more familiar with the Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blends from Southern France or the wine growing regions from down under, the Central Coast has certainly branched out over the years in the grape varietals they are planting. The Rhone varietals such as these certainly seem to make for some great wines from this region. After a few initial swirls around the glass, the close but faster moving legs of the wine started to tip me off about the alcohol content, which was very noticeable in my initial whiff of the Hahn Estate GSM. As I noted the clear (depicting filtration) but dark and intense ruby purple color, I also caught the 14.5% alcohol of the wine from the label. Not a big deal though, as this sometimes happens when opening a wine with a higher alcohol percentage, typical of a few of the grapes in this blend. The nose of the wine certainly had the fruit elements that one would expect from the dominant Grenache and Syrah of the blend (65% and 31% respectively, with just 4% Mourvedre). Nuances of blackberry, ripe raspberries, cherries and even plum all commingled to give the wine a slight jammy quality. Aside from the fruit nuances, the wine showed floral notes of violets and lavender leading way to Swiss cocoa powder and a slight minerality, and just a hint of cedar and vanilla from the barrel aging. As I continued to taste the wine, the fruit definitely opened up more and the higher alcohol of the wine became much less noticeable. Just as I expected from this Central Coast wine, the body was not that big, though it did coat the tongue with velvet like texture. The eastern facing vineyards do pick up the morning sun allowing for good ripe fruit, and the cooling effects of the breezes channeled from the Monterey Bay in the northwest assist in developing the fruit for a well-balanced wine. So while there was a lushness to the wine, is showed restraint and was not an over-the-top fruit bomb. As I had decanted the rest of the bottle, my second pour only continued to prove how even your everyday wines can benefit from the chance to open up a little. The fruit continued to develop and hints of white pepper and other spices started to emerge. As the Hahn Estate GSM is well balanced, this certainly is a good sipping wine. It does not demand a food to pair with it, though it would pair nicely with oven roasted chicken, lamb, or a hearty pasta dish with marinara sauce if you are so inclined. Grab yourself a bottle of this wine today!