Hawk and Horse Vineyard was founded in 1999 by the Hawkins and Boies Family in Lake County California, just slightly north of Napa Valley. This family operated vineyard and ranch is certified organic and biodynamic and is a hand farmed winery. Hawk and Horse produce an esteemed estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon and a Port style dessert wine also made from Cabernet Sauvignon.
Hawk and Horse Vineyards are located in the Red Hill AVA of Lake County. Their soil and climate is perfectly suited for producing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. Their biodynamic wine making practices allow for them to produce wines that are the purest expression of their terroir. The vines are grown at 1800 to 2200 feet and vineyards are red rocky volcanic soils. The vines are fed with natural springs and due to the high elevations, the air is pure, thus allowing for more UV light. This gives you thicker grape skins, greater tannins and more intense wines.
The vineyard is home to the historic and famed El Roble Grande Ranch. The name Hawk and Horse comes from the horse farm on the ranch, as well as the many Red-Tailed Hawks on the farms that protect the land from rodents. The ranch is also home to a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle, three American Saddlebred horses, five American Quarterhorses and wildlife including bees, hawks, owls, bear, wild boar, bobcats, mountain lions and squirrels. The guesthouse is a three-story hand-built traditional log home. A visit to Hawk and Horse Vineyards is a step back to the gracious ranching life and family based hospitality of a bygone era.
Hawk and Horse Red Hill Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($70)– This wine was made in a near perfect vintage with ideal weather conditions. Warm daytime temperatures were followed by cooler weather at nights. The wine is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon with 3% Petite Verdot. The Cabernet is made in an old world style with minimal intervention in the cellar allowing for a full expression of the fruit and terroir to shine through. This classic mountain grown Cabernet Sauvignon is rich, dense and concentrated. The wine has a deep ruby color. On the nose the wine is very aromatic, there is black fruit, dark cherries, raspberry jam, cocoa and spice which continues to exude onto the palate. The tannins are well-integrated and you have a wonderful long lingering smooth finish. This polished age worthy wine can be drunk now or cellar for later enjoyment.
Rich, powerful and seductive, the wine will pair delectably with red meats, most notable a juicy steak, but will also hold up to a pork or lamb preparation. This is a wine that will pair well with food but because of its acidity and fruit it is also a wonderful sipping wine that can be enjoyed with a few friends next to a warm fire on a cool night.
Hawk and Horse Latigo Dessert Wine 2011 ($50 375ml)– Latigo is a fortified dessert wine made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Produced in the traditional port style, this wine is fortified with alembic high-proof brandy. The wine is then aged 29 months in new French oak before bottling. “Latigo” is an equestrian term, being the supple, red leather strap which hangs off the left or “port” side of a Western saddle. The word Latigo was popularized in the Garth Brooks song, Rodeo. The wine is dark ruby in color. The nose expresses hints of vanilla, red fruit and caramel. The palate is smoky up front with caramel, dark chocolate, cherries and plum. The fruit, the brandy, and the oak are all very well-integrated. The wine is luscious and sweet with 13% residual sugar, so you can drink on its own as the main dessert or pair with cheeses, fresh fruit or chocolate. I paired it with a simple plate of sweetened summer berries and crème fraiche.
Being a wine writer you can imagine I taste a lot of wine. I am constantly on the search for a wine that “wows” me. It is not very often that I come across a wine that I want to shout out and yell out on my balcony for all to try, but that is exactly what I wanted to do when I tasted the wines of Hawk and Horse Vineyard. It is such a proud moment when you have a new discovery that you want everyone to try, for me it is this lovely Cabernet Sauvignon from Hawk and Horse Vineyard. It is one of those wines that you have to go out and immediately order. Both the wines are flat-out gorgeous. The wines of Hawks and Horse can hold its own next to any of its Napa neighbors. These are solid, intense, concentrated wines that are well-balanced and structured. A must try. So go onto the Hawk and Horse website and order your wines today.