by Fred McMillin
for April 9, 1997

Where to Grow Merlot

Prologue: 1993—"In Monterey County, Merlot has seized the imagination of several winemakers with its ability to mute the vegetal taste so often found in Monterey Cabernet Sauvignon." Bob Thompson in The Wine Atlas of California"

The Rest of the Story: One of those enthusiasts is Hahn Estates winemaker Art Nathan. His grapes are grown in the new, hot-button red wine district of the Santa Lucia Highlands. It's located 1200 feet above the warmer Salinas Valley floor; the soil is lean and mean, with chunks of decomposing granite dotting the well-drained slopes. Art says it's "ideally suited for Merlot." To find out what all the excitement is about, try his '94 Hahn Merlot. At $11, my tasters felt it was a fine value.

1994 Merlot, Santa Lucia Highlands
Hahn Estates
Soledad, Monterey County, CA

Category: Recommended in its price range

Postscript: Fowl Talk: In German, "hahn" means rooster, but believe me, this Merlot is no turkey.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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