The very first thing that caught my attention is that Hawley Winery produces wines that are organic. Wow! That is so wonderful! But my final impression was, not only are the wines fantastic, but they are produced sustainably and without harmful pesticides – Double Delight.
John Hawley, the winemaker and his sons Paul and Austin, are responsible for these remarkable and delicious wines. Committed to crafting truly excellent wines John comes from over 25 years of experience, including having been head winemaker at Clos du Bois for 10 years and then doing a 6 year stint at Kendall-Jackson.
I was doubtless fortunate to have picked Hawley as one of my other tasting destinations out of all the wineries that Christian at Zin Restaurant(see yesterday’s post) recommended. At the tasting room in Healdsburg I got to meet Paul Hawley, who was very clear about the undeniably high quality wine they produce.
All of the wines I tasted were terrific. The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek was redolent of crisp apples and fig, earth and fresh green notes. Paul went to New Zealand and was inspired by the Sauvigon Blancs there so he perfected his own. The extraordinary Viognier (so hard to get right IMO) is just perfect with intoxicating orange blossom fragrance and tropical fruits like mango and pineapple coming on with juicy peach in a smooth velvety palate and warm finish. The full flavor is enhanced by barrel fermentation in French Oak.
Chardonnay can appear in all sorts of permutations, most of which I haven’t loved recently, but the master of Chardonnay Hawley, does it justice in the 2012 Alexander Valley, Hoot Owl Creek Vnyd. Well balanced tropical fruits with bright crispness. It has the richness and full velvet like mouth feel one would expect from this wine but it is also extremely fragrant with a vanilla scented finish. Also French Oak barrel fermented.
Dry Creek is famous for the Zinfandel grapes and Hawley has created some of the richest, starting with the 2011 Ponzo Vineyard. It is silky with cherry, plum and dark berries laced with spices.
There is a special 2012 Zinfandel benefiting raptor rescue, part of John Hawley’s love of falconry and birds of prey. This Zin is very smooth with flavors of cherries, strawberries, and plums backed by hints of vanilla and nutmeg spice.
My favorite was the 2010 Estate Meritage. Just a masterful Bordeaux blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc to give it those strong, supportive tannins. Dark berry and ripe plum flavors, balanced with spices and foresty cedar scent. Rich, gorgeous and lucious. Just writing about it makes me salivate.
Finally they offer a 2012 Late Harvest Zinfandel which is sweet and jammy with berries and meaty cherries, chocolate and spices. Perfect for dessert.
There you have it, amazing wines made with integrity, passion and love.