The name Hanna means different things in various languages. For example Hanna in Kurdish means hope, in Persian the name means flower and in Arabic it means happiness for example. Those various meaning might just sum up the experience of Hanna Winery—hope, flower and happiness. Hope the vision and expectation of winery founder Dr. Elias S. Hanna. Christine, his daughter is today the President of the Winery. Flower in that the bouquets of Hanna wines are fresh and lively and all their wines extoll happiness on those who experience them on their palate.
In June 2018, I had the opportunity to visit and discuss the operation and wines of Hanna Winery. I became aware of Hanna Winery from a press release that they had announced their 2015 Alexander Valley Saint Macaire. For background, Saint Macaire is the missing varietal from the Old World Bordeaux. This along with Carmenere grapes have long been excluded from the fine Bordeaux’s coming out of France. I had heard about Saint Macaire years ago with only one other winery using a small percentage in their Bordeaux version on Howell Mountain. So the hunt was on to taste and experience something that was thought to be lost! Currently in the Unites States, only one acre of Saint Macaire is planted and in production. Hanna Winery has 50% of the production with a half-acre planted.
Earlier this year, a tasting panel scored the Saint Macaire at 95 points. The uniqueness of the wine couple with distinct flavor profiles, made this the find of the visit to Sonoma Valley. The mix is 77% Saint Macaire, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and 2% Merlot. On the eye it is has a dark purple hue and possess a bright glow. Having never tasted a Saint Macaire, I was anxious with curiosity. It produced as their winemakers notes stated, “peppercorn, sage leaf, saddle leather and Darjeeling tea. By mouth fruit emerges as kirsch and grilled fig”. What I got most of the taste was the medium to medium heavy viscosity in the glass and a long lingering finish lasting thirty seconds or more on the back of the throat. This finish was definitely in class by itself. This also scored my highest marks thus far in 2018.
The grounds and tasting room of Hanna Winery were spectacular in the views of Alexander Valley and uncommon, was their ability to produce a robust and quality wine across all varietals—Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and a few unique blends.
In closing Hanna Winery & Vineyards delivered as its meaning with “hope (bringing back a lost varietal), flower (bouquet and aromas) and happiness (the pleasure of tasting)”. Truly, one winery that should be sought out on your next visit to Alexander Valley.