2014 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir – SLH As It Should Be!

2014 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir – SLH As It Should Be!

Monterey County is one of the most scenic regions in Southern California. Spanning roughly 90 miles, this is an all-important wine region stretching from Monterey Bay south to the edge of San Luis Obispo County. Vineyards here are flanked by the Galiban Mountains to the east, with the gorgeous Santa Lucia Mountains along the Pacific encompassing the western edge.

Nicky Hahn is a bit of rock-star here. It was his idea that the Santa Lucia Highlands – once simply part of the Monterey County wine zone – be carved out, recognized as a unique appellation. Achieving such recognition doesn’t come easy; involving bureaucrats is a process. It can take years to move the mountains of paperwork as well as attitudes required to have a new wine region officially recognized.

But Nicky pulled his fellow vintners together; they made their appeals, showed their wines, explained the benefits, and showed a few more wines… Three years later, Nicky had his new AVA (American Viticultural Area) – Santa Lucia Highlands became a reality.

In 1980 Hahn released its first wine and by 1991 Nicky’s Hahn Winery gave birth to the Santa Lucia Highlands. Hahn, Nicky’s dream now a reality, became synonymous with what today is one of California’s most important, most respected Pinot Noir zones. Nicky (Nicolaus) Hahn was a visionary. His vision gave the world one of its most important wine zones.

Hahn’s estate in this zone is breathtaking, their wines undeniably class-leading. Today the wines are made by Paul Clifton, his Midas touch undeniable. For 2014 – if you can dig up a few bottles – this estate hit a level of quality with their estate bottled wines that keeps me coming back for more. In particular Clifton’s SLH Pinot for 2014 is magical. Today, five years on, it’s only just beginning to spread its wings!

A smokin’ effort, as well as a terrific value, the 2014 Pinot Noir Hahn SLH (mostly from the Smith Vineyard) offers classic notes of forest floor, toasted spice, licorice and tons of Pinot Noir fruit in its medium-bodied, textured and layered profile. … I’m hard pressed to come up with a better value in Pinot Noir. Drink this pleasure bent beauty over the coming 4-5 years.

An estate that has hit another level of quality over the past few vintages, Hahn Family Wines focuses on estate vineyards in both the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Arroyo Seco Valley. The wines are made by Paul Clifton, everything is destemmed and aging occurs all in French oak. The big change recently is the moving of their limited-production, single vineyard releases to their Lucienne label. These are all made in tiny, 80- to 600-case quantities and are beautiful wines. In addition, their entry level wines and the new SLH releases (which are a blend of the single vineyards) are absolutely worth checking out.

92 points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate — Drink 2016-2021

Laetitia Winery – Tardivat’s Dream Lives On

I told myself I was going to approach these Recession Busters with less apparent fanfare than the weekly newsletters for one simple reason: “cheap don’t need no hype!” 

But after the realization that the several thousand recipients of yesterday’s e*blast apparently overlooked the absolutely untouchable price on the Laetitia Pinot Noir, I’ve decided it behooves me to rattle your in-boxes.  If you’re a fan of scrumptious Pinot Noir, and if you’re a fan of saving money, and if you’re a fan of securing a wine right here in your own town at a price that can not be beat anywhere else, you owe it to yourself to read on….

First, a quick background on Laetitia, for the few who may be unfamiliar with one of the best-selling Pinots in the Houston market.  The winery now known as Laetitia began its life back in the early 1980s as the American sparkling-wine property of the famous Champagne house, Maison Deutz.  The French viticulturists working for Maison Deutz studied the Arroyo Grande Valley of California’s Central Coast, liked what they found and opted for planting nearly 200 acres to prime grape types such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all with the goal of producing an American “Premium Champagne”. 

By 1997, after more than a decade producing successful American methode champenoise, Deutz sold their operation to then vineyard-manager Mr. Tardivat.  Tardivat, father to the lovely Laetitia, renamed the winery in his daughter’s honor, and the operation began to focus on production of still wines, leaving the sparkling wine business behind.  Proving a wise decision indeed, this move to the production of Pinot Noir resulted in some of the most pristine and pure offers of that varietal ever bottled in this part of California.

Today’s ownership of Laetitia carries on the tradition of bottling some of this region’s most perfumed, pure and delicate examples of Pinot Noir.  More than a decade of producing Pinot Noir in the Arroyo Grande Valley and surrounding appellations has resulted in numerous coveted reviews for these stellar offers by some of the most respected authors of our time.  One glance at the reviews from Burghound, for example, confirms the dedication to excellence this winery has committed itself to since first venturing into the world of Pinot Noir production.

I encourage my readers to once again consider this fantastic offer from the great folks at Laetitia. 

For not only do we have one rock solid bottle of Pinot before us, we have it at a price that simply can not be beat!

2006 Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir
Laetitia Winery
Pinot Noir Dry Red Table Wine
Arroyo Grande Valley, San Luis Obispo, Central Coast, California, USA

Review by Allen Meadow’s Burghound
Burghound.com Issue 28, Oct 2007
Tasting note:

“High Quality: [A Wine] that offers solid quality in every respect and generally very good typicity… Worth your attention.” Burghound
Drink: 2008+

        “Noticeable if not invasive oak treatment frames pretty upper register red pinot and raspberry fruit aromas that lead to delicious, round and sweet flavors that possess a textured and slightly dusty mouth feel and fine length where the oak resurfaces. This is nicely complex and should reward a year or two of bottle age.”
                — Allen Meadows, Burghound

for information regarding pricing and current availability, contact me at the shop…


All the best in wine and life,

Christopher Massie
Diplome D’Honneur de Sommelier
2439 Times BLVD
Houston, TX 77005