2017 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Petit Verdot – A Gem in Red Hills AVA, Lake County

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The Winery

(Picture from San Francisco Chronicle)

The winery is located in the Red Hills sub-AVA of Clear Lake AVA. This is about an hour drive north of Calistoga, California. The vineyard sits at 2,200 feet in rocky red volcanic soil. To be both DEMETER Biodynamic and CCOF Organic is no small feat, but Hawk and Horse Vineyards has done both! The subject of both these accomplishments is a story unto itself and to be told at a later time. The winery is set on the historic El Roble Grande Ranch, a horse breeding facility, which was let go until it was acquired and worked by the new owners. Those new owners Mitch & Tracey Hawkins along with David Boies and Christopher Boies began carving out a portion of the 900 acre ranch to form an 18 acre vineyard. The vines were planted in 1999 and 2004 was their first vintage. With the red volcanic soil of the ranch, it won an International Gold Medal out of the chute! Today the tasting room was the former tack room where saddles and memorabilia from the past still grace the walls. Dr. Dick Peterson is consulting winemaker with Tracey Hawkins. Dr. Peterson has a long and distinguished career after receiving his Ph.D. in Agricultural Chemistry from the University of California. His background and career include E & J Gallo, Beaulieu Vineyard, The Monterey Vineyard, Screaming Eagle and Atlas Peak.

The Wine, 2017 Petit Verdot

This grape is anything but “petit” so do not be fooled by its name. Originally, coming from France, the thick skinned grape which ripens to purple when behaving, can be troublesome. Thus the name “Petit Verdot” meaning “little green”.  Typical Petit Verdot grapes have traditionally been blended into Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Carmenere. Specifically today, it has come into its own as a 100% varietal. Most Petit Verdot’s are a deep purple color in the glass, with dark fruits prominent.

The 2017 Hawk and Horse Petit Verdot from Lake County held some similar and unique characteristics. First on eyes, this is a deep royal purple color with a medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, liquid ripe plums and black cherries abound. On the palate, a rich fruit flavor of plums, dark cherries swirl about in the mouth. Secondary tastes of leather and mocha are sneaking about as “peek-a-boo” enhanced flavors. The finish is lively, bright and long lasting. The balance of tannins and acidity are in perfect harmony. The wine was aged in 100% French oak with 40% being new and only 90 cases were produced. The winery sells this for $65.

The Food and Wine Pairing

The wine was paired with sautéed smoked pork sausage prepared with orange, yellow and red bell peppers. Purple onions and spices were thrown in to make this a very tasty and a “little spicy” dish. Spanish rice with tomatoes accompanied the meal. It was a delightful meal and the wine very complimentary. An excellent wine with various foods or even drinking by itself.






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