Red Velvet

by | Feb 18, 2007

My local wine retailer handed me a $20 bottle of Smith & Hook Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon on Friday, while pointing out that one might not expect a Cab of this quality to come from Monterey.

Here’s how the Hahn family describes their product:

The Smith & Hook Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from the finest of the Hahn Family’s estate vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands Appellation, a wine region proving to become one of the crown jewels of California viticulture.

The Smith Vineyard and the Hook Vineyard are east facing slopes with the vines between 400 and 1200 feet in elevation in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation. These grapes are truly mountain grown. The final blend of our Grand Reserve Cabernet is 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc for mid-palate, 5% Petite Verdot for bright berries and spice, and 2% Malbec for color and to tie everything together.

Aromas of blackberries, currant, leather, and tobacco. A warm rush of cherries and plum start at the fore-palate before fading to chocolate and toffee with a hint of mint towards the back. The tannins are firm, smooth, and polished, leaving a silky and supple texture in the mouth, supported by a subtle seam of acidity. Our Enologist, Greg Freeman, describes the wine as “a warm cedar chest at Grandma’s house.”

That’s an interesting way to descibe wine, but I know what he means.