Thursday, July 2, 2009

Barrel tasting at La Honda Winery

La Honda Winery in Redwood City operates one of several local vineyard management companies. It's an interesting symbiotic relationship; land in the Santa Cruz Mountains is so expensive that only the very wealthy can afford large estates. Vineyards not only make a practical form of landscaping, but the owner also gets to share the finished wine with his friends.

Wes Barton and I went over after work one day to meet Ken Wornick and see how his 2007 vintage is shaping up. These were all single-barrel samples from single vineyards; the wines aren't finished and some may never be commercially available.

2007 La Honda Winery Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend
From the winery's own vineyard, located near the village of La Honda itself.
Dusty, light berry nose. Tart and acidic, with light tannins; the Sangiovese seemed to dominate. I'm not much of a fan of Italian-style wines, but the acidity suggests that it would pair well with a tomato based pasta sauce. 85

2007 "Meritage"
From a vineyard in Los Altos Hills, this is a roughly even field blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Malbec.
Lots of ripe fruit on the nose; brambles and candied blackcurrants. Full bodied with earthy currant flavours and good structure. The oak is present but doesn't intrude. 90+

2007 "SHV" - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Los Altos Hills
The nose is really good, with blackberry, blackcurrant and dusty tannin. Unfortunately the palate doesn't live up to expectations; it's tart and tannic, with notes of green apple. There's definitely something missing. 82

2007 "SON" - 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Saratoga
Nose shows smoke and black fruit, with hints of herb & tobacco. It's balanced with nice black fruit flavours, good acidity and lots of liquorice on the finish. 89+

2007 Lone Hawk Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Saratoga
From a South-West facing vineyard at 1200' - the fruit used to go into Kathryn Kennedy's Lateral blend.
The nose is dark and heavy, with black fruits, toast and coffee. On the palate it's dry and tannic with lots of acidity; there's some raspberry and redcurrant fruit underneath, but it's very hard to judge at this stage.