Where there's smoke...
We don't want to keep secrets. Some of these Hook&Ladder wines are more $$$ than the wines currently on our shelves BUT as you know, in the wine world, every $ is exponential in terms of quality. That said, rest assured that as great as our current selection of Hook&Ladder wines was and remains, the new wines are, shall we say, even more great.
Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Produced in limited quality, Hook&Ladder Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 offers an intense nose of vanilla and spices. Lush notes of blackberry and dark cherry on the palate are enhanced and defined with an herbal edge. The winemaker says this is a "big" and "bold" wine. But the bigness and boldness are held in line by balanced acidity and structured tannins. The finish evokes the spice that starts and slowly and smoothly ends Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel says this wine is a "handsome brute with a soft heart and a heck of a punch."
Third Alarm Pinot Noir 2012
Planted in 1973, the Pinot Noir Vineyards are located in western Santa Rosa where the coastal fog blankets the fruit mornings and evening facilitating a longer growing season. Hook&Ladder uses old world techniques punching down the fruit by hand up to 3 times to produce this Pinot Noir in small batches. After using only native yeast in fermentation, the wine, to increase balance and complexity, was aged in French Oak barrels up to 11 months.
Dark crimson in color, the wine presents raspberries, blackberries and cherries with just a hint of cinnamon spice on the nose. Add vanilla and cola on the palate. The Metro Wines Tasting Panel find this a signature characteristic of Hook&Ladder reds, spice. The thread of all flavors weaves, as just noted above in our review of Third Alarm Cabernet Sauvignon, from start to finish in this wine as well. And this continuity, we find, is also a most pleasing characteristic of Hook&Ladder Reds. Estate bottled on June 19, 2013, this multi-layered Pinot Noir can pair easily with a variety of dishes but is not afraid to be alone! Not even in the dark.
The San Francisco Chronicle awarded the Hook&Ladder Pinot Noir 2011, the wine we have had on our shelves since we opened the doors on April 29th of this year, not just gold, but DOUBLE GOLD. And the Third Alarm is even a step up, strike that, a flight of steps up from that. Oh baby!
Station 10 Zinfandel
A blend of 71% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane and 2% Alicante Bouschet, Station 10 was harvested between October 8th and 22nd of 2008 and released in to the waiting wine world in the summer of 2012. The vines which gave us Station 10 are nearly 100 years old thriving in the morning fog that blankets the vineyard just west of Santa Rosa. The goal with Station 10 was to blend a wine that would be bold, as all Hook&Ladder wines are, well structured and would "pair with a wide range of dishes." To accomplish this mission, grapes were selected from the oldest Zinfandel vines and a small selection from old vine Carignane and Alicante Bouschet from the same vineyard. Combined with Petite Sirah from the Los Amigos Vineyard, the berry and spice profile takes root. And then, this is the good part, the varietals were aged separately in European and American Oak for over a year before blending and bottling. And that, folks, how the magic happens. Seriously, it is these extra steps that make all the difference.
Now, to the essential element, the taste, the experience. Dark violet in color, Station 10 gives you deep a deep nose of black currants, dark berry and strawberries with just a hint of cedar. Bringing the black fruit forward onto the palate, add spice, cinnamon-cherry, bramble and stone fruit. It is this collection of flavors that makes Station 10 so amazingly versatile. The winemaker says pair it with everything from grilled red meats to tomato sauce. We, The Metro Wines Tasting Panel, say the winery accomplished its mission in the quest for a wine to "pair with a wide range of dishes." Station 10 has already earned a place on our list of "go to" wines when a customer needs a bottle for a potluck, that is to say, when the customer is headed to dinner with no idea what will be on the table! You can go in confidence with Station 10.
** Bottom line: The Metro Wines Tasting Panel is ALL agreed that "Station 10 is front loaded with flavor, no warm up, no waiting for the whole taste to kick in, a present on the palate that remains stable with no drop off or holes through to the lasting finish." Gary, says Station 10 is "da bomb." At $14.99, this is buy BY the case.
Hook&Ladder Cabernet Franc 2010
We love this grape but let's face it, if a 100% Franc is not done well, it's a flabby, royal disaaaaaaster. This one IS done well. Picked from a single vineyard, the grapes are gently de-skinned and left to sit in the skins to extract as much color and flavor as possible. After pressing, the wine is aged in Hungarian and American Oak. Dark and intense purple to almost black in color, this viscous wine has legs, literally. When swirled, you will see slow forming, fat legs that hold on. Spiced (there's that spice again) dark fruit with hints of wild anise, bittersweet chocolate, green herbs and tobacco on the nose. Yes. All that. Plush and full on the palate, Hook&Ladder Cabernet Franc goes on smoothly with flavors of dark fruit, ripe cherry, soft earth, mocha, dark, dark chocolate and tobacco while picking up finely grained tannins mid palate together with a balanced acidity. You might find a subtle but noticeable mineral foundation under the fruit. The wine is well structured through the finish. A finish you won't want to see coming!