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2008 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Red Hills AVA, Lake County

The Red Hills AVA of Lake County, established in 1984, lies on the southwestern shores of Clear Lake and entirely within the larger Clear Lake AVA. There are upwards of 30,000 acres within the Red Hills AVA boundaries, but just under 10% are planted to wine grapes. It is a warm region and does well with Bordeaux varieties, including Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. The grapes are used not just in local wines but also for blending in higher profile regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

The two most unique aspects of the Red Hills AVA are its altitude and soil. The lowest portions of the AVA are 1,350 feet above sea level. Some areas reach 2,600 feet. Distinctive, deep red soil covers more than 90% of the AVA. Deposited by nearby volcanoes, it is gravelly — sometimes peppered with massive chunks of obsidian — and well-drained.

Hawk and Horse is a prototypical Red Hills AVA vineyard: 18 acres of red soil scattered with Konocti Diamonds (small, sparkling quartz crystals also known as Lake County Diamonds and Moon Tears). The vineyard undulates from 1,800 to 2,200. feet It is certified organic and biodynamic. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted in 2001.

Dark ruby in the glass, the 2008 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon offers aromas of ripe dark fruit (cassis and Chambord), sweet spice and clove orange. It’s nearly full-bodied in the mouth and opens with flavors of sweet black fruit, violets, oak and dark spice. Firm tannins (light-grained and chalky) build from the mid-palate and persist through the lengthy, spicy finish. The wine is ready now but, even after decanting, the tannins want a well-marbled steak. It should be softer after a couple of years in the cellar. Highly Recommended

2008 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Red Hills AVA, Lake County
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: now - 2017
Closure: Cork
Production: 1,150 cases
Retail Price: $65.00

Winemakers: Dick Peterson and Scott Harvey
Blend: 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot
Origin: Hawk and Horse Estate Vineyard, Red Hills AVA, Lake County
Aging: 18 months in French oak barrels - 50% new, 50% once used
Alcohol: 14.1%

Service Recommendations
Decanting: Splash decant
Temperature: 58º - 64º F
Food Pairings: Ribeye steak


Ratings Key:
Recommended = 87-89
Recommended+ = 89-90 
Highly Recommended = 90-92
Highly Recommended+ = 92-93
Very Highly Recommended = 93-95
Very Highly Recommended+ = 95=96
Highest Recommendation = 96-100 

The wine above was provided by the winery for review.

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This article is original to Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.