It has been awhile since I’ve written, and truth be told, I haven’t been keeping up with my wine studies. I tend to move from interest to interest, and lately I’ve been watching Youtube “clothing haul” videos, where the person sees how much they can get from H&M or Target. I think wine, while inebriating, was also a bit more constructive.
To dip my toe back into the water, I have here a wine we got from the regular old grocery store. Hahn 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noir.
It’s unusual to see such an appelation-specific wine at the grocery store, particularly at this price point, which was around $20 ($13 with the 6-pack discount). Most wines you see there say “California” or at the most specific, “Central Coast” or “Monterey.” Santa Lucia Highlands is a part of Monterey (near San Francisco) that is its own appelation, or officially recognized wine region. Beyond that you’d be getting into individual vineyards.
It’s always good to snap up appelation-specific wine when you see it for two reasons: it tends to be of a higher quality, and it furthers your wine education. Every time you drink an appelation wine, you are honing in on the terroir a bit more. You get to taste and smell just what it is that makes that place special.
Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans, of which Hahn is a member, claims that they cultivate “California’s best pinot noir and chardonnay.” I think Sonoma would have something to say about that, but I agree on the chardonnay. And this pinot isn’t bad, either.
Update: I wrote the beginning of this post two months ago, and I no longer have my tasting notes. I remember that it was decent and well worth the money. The movie SOMM: Into the Bottle says that you should aim to spend at least $25 to $40 if you want something really artisanal, but in the mean time we will satisfy ourselves with tasteful gluggers such as this.
The main point is that it’s exciting to see specific appelation wines at a grocery store, or even a specialty wine store, and the more you drink from a specific appelation, the more you will recognize it.