Affordable wine from pre-eminent growing region

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Floral scent: The 2010 Hahn Central Coast Meritage is ladened with dark plums, incense and black fruits along with a background of saddle leather and a layer of spicy French Oak. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

Nicolas ”Nicky” Hahn is a Swiss citizen, adventurer and avid conservationist who has a keen business sense and passion for wine. His ambition and love for wine led him and his wife Gaby to the rolling hills of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey, Calif., in 1974. He purchased two cattle ranches and converted them to vineyards, establishing Smith & Hook Winery, one of the largest producers of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

After receiving critical acclaim for this endeavor, Hahn expanded his holdings in 1980 with a supple, value-centric wine called Hahn Estates. With ownership of over 650 acres in Monterey County, Hahn Estates Winery has grown to eight brands of attractively priced, fruit driven wines including names such as Huntington, Rex Goliath, Cycles Gladiator, Bin36 and a Chilean-based wine called Copa. Given their estate location in one of the pre-eminent Pinot Noir growing regions of California, the Lucienne hillside vineyards are directed toward vineyard-specific Pinot Noirs. Today, their children, Philip and Caroline, are responsible for carrying on the family legacy.

The 2010 Hahn Central Coast Meritage is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Opaque and deeply floral scented, this wine is ladened with dark plums, incense and black fruits along with a background of saddle leather and a layer of spicy French Oak. Given that the cassis is deeply submerged in the wine, it will require a few more years of aging before achieving its true potential.

Suggested Retail : $17.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits. Email him at wphoyne@att.net.