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2012 Tannat
Tasting Notes

2012 Tannat

We call Tannat one of our “spice rack” wines. It is a varietal that you add just a smidge of to bring added complexity, firm structure, and verve to a wine. Only every few vintages does it compel us to bottle it as a single variety. The last time was 2009. The decision as to whether to bottle the Tannat as a single varietal occurs at the final tasting session just prior to bottling season. Looking back at my tasting notes from that day, there is a dark purple splotch, the word “yummm”, and “YES!!” underlined three times.  Not very descriptive but a clear indication that vintage 2012 Tannat warranted its own bottling. Aromas of blackberry and black plum with a hint of sarsaparilla lead into a palate that is full and juicy, with integrated notes of mocha and spicy cinnamon. We grow only about 1 acre of this esoteric varietal, hence our very small bottling of only 138 cases.  Get it while you can because if it’s half as popular as it is at our family gatherings, it’s going to go fast! 

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The grapes for our Tannat are grown on a small, 1-acre block on our estate Hames Valley Vineyard. Located in southern Monterey County, about 20 miles south of King City, Hames presents ideal conditions for growing intense, jammy wines like Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. The climate is characterized by a high day-to-night temperature differential, with a variation of up to 50° quite common. Daytime highs are similar to the Paso Robles growing region but, as the sun goes down, temperatures drop significantly. The long, warm days allow the intense fruit flavors to develop, while the dramatic nighttime cooling preserves the balance of the fruit and maintains acidity.
The grapes were handpicked into half-ton bins, destemmed and crushed into small fermentation bins. During fermentation, we gently punched down the cap 3 times per day and held the juice on the skins for 2 weeks before pressing. The must was then drained and pressed to stainless steel tanks. After settling the heavy solids, the juice was racked clean to small oak barrels for secondary fermentation and aged for 18 months before bottling unfiltered. Due to its higher tannins and powerful structure, it benefited from being laid down for an additional 18 months before release (although we’ve managed to drink through more than a few cases in the interim … just to sample it, of course).
Varietal Composition
100% Tannat
Hames Valley Vineyard
Harvest Date
September 28
Harvest Brix
Hames Valley
Alcohol %
18 months in 100% oak, a combination of 78% American, 11% French and 11% European
Cases Produced
Bottling Date
May 4, 2014