Blind Tasting: Two 92 WS 2014 California Pinot Noir Values

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2014 Hahn SLH vs MacMurray RRV head to head
Last week I wrote about the $10 off $50 AmEx Offer at Wine.com. I've got quite a few AmEx cards with this offer on them (16 in all at last count) so I decided to go for their StewardShip program that covers shipping on all orders for a year for a flat rate of $49.

Since I have StewardShip I can now stack the AmEx Offer with coupon codes and shop through a portal and get 25+% off. The key then is finding wines I actually want at good prices.

While I was poking around on their site I found a couple of compelling wines with good QPR (quality to price ratio). At least on paper: The 2014 Hahn SLH Pinot an the 2014 MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir.

The Hahn SLH is a known commodity: Back to back vintages of 92 point ratings from Wine Spectator, high production and a readily available for less than its $30 release price. I've had prior vintages and have enjoyed this bottling.

The 92 point rating on the MacMurray was news to me because although Wine.com has it for $21.99 (at least here in MA), Wine Spectator lists its release price as $43. Wine.com claims the retail price is $52 so this wine comes right up when I do an Advanced Search on Wine.com and sort on Savings.

The wines arrived earlier this week. I popped them open and had my son pour them into separate glasses and remember which was which. Both wines were showing well, but the results were surprising...


Blind Tasting Notes


These wines look very similar visually. They cling to the glass similarly.

On the nose, I immediately think one is the Hahn and the other is the MacMurray, based on characteristics I associate with their respective appellations.  The one I think is the Hahn (from Santa Lucia Highlands) is more plush, with straightforward generous ripe strawberry notes. The one I think is the MacMurray is classic Russian River Valley brambleberry and cola notes.

The one I think is the Hahn is surprisingly dense on the palate. A lot of weight for a Pinot Noir, especially one that's shy of 50% opaque. Good depth of flavor. Hard to discern whether it offers a long finish -or- the heat is most evident on the finish. Very nice.

The one I think is the MacMurray presents itself the same way on the palate as on the nose. Cola for days. Nice fruit. Confident presence but not overstated. I really like this wine.

I'd be shocked if I got the appelations flipped on this one...

Shocker


I was absolutely stunned when my son told me the wine I thought was the MacMurray was actually the Hahn. I drink a lot of California Pinot Noir and have developed stereotypes on what wines from each region typically taste like.

I thought perhaps he might have been mistaken but when I poured additional tastes of each wine there was no mistaking which was which: These wines are dramatically different.

I kept both bottles open the rest of the night and the Hahn was undeniably more appealing to me. And given its higher production levels and wider availability I'd say that's a good thing for future easy purchasing.

2014 Hahn SLH Pinot Noir
14.5% Alcohol
26,500 Cases Produced
$30 Release Price

About 40% opaque in the glass, and medium bodied visually. Typical for a California Pinot Noir. Briar patch and cola on the nose and on the palate. Cola for days. Nice fruit. Confident presence but not overstated. I really like this wine.

92/100 WWP: Outstanding
2014 Hahn SLH on Wine.com (affiliate link)
icon


2014 MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir
14.3% Alcohol
2,400 Cases Produced
$43 Release Price

About 40% opaque in the glass, and medium bodied visually. Typical for a California Pinot Noir. Straightforward with generous ripe strawberry on the nose. Surprisingly dense on the palate. A lot of weight for a Pinot Noir. Good depth of flavor. Hard to discern whether it offers a long finish -or- the heat is most evident on the finish.

89/100 WWP: Very Good
2014 MacMurray Russian River Valley on Wine.com (affiliate link)
icon

Bottom Line


I'd buy both of these wines again. I think they're tremendously enjoyable, and at just over $20 a very good buy in a category where it's hard to find a reliably outstanding bottle for $20, let alone one rated 92 by Spectator.

Ping me on Twitter @RobertDwyer or drop me an email especially if you've got questions on maximizing the Wine.com AmEx Offer.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Topics

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP