Friday, October 3, 2014

Holiday Wines 2014: Wes Hagen

It's October now, which means the Halloween decorations have been in the seasonal display racks at your local merchant since the glow wore off of "Back To School."  I'll take that as a cue that it is not too early to start thinking about holiday wines.  I think about them all year long.  As the months pass, I make little lists of the wines I want on my holiday table, with my holiday feast.  I know I'm not alone in that little obsession.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays traditionally involve lots of family, so whatever wines you choose to highlight will be special, owing to the simple fact that they were along for the ride.  It's nice to put a little thought into it, though.  I have asked some wine folks to help me do a little less thinking this holiday season by outlining which of their wines they feel are special.  The requests went out right about the time harvest was getting underway - great timing! - so I really appreciate the effort the responses required.

The very first response I received was from a Santa Barbara County winemaker who has become indispensable to his industry.  When he's not making some of the best Pinot Noir in the Sta. Rita Hills, he's busy drafting the papers to make a new American Viticultural Area happen, or working to prevent an existing AVA from being expanded.  Wes Hagen, of Clos Pepe Vineyards, has some very specific ideas about a holiday feast and the wines that go with it.  I'll let him explain:

"I think a West Coast Christmas should start with a few dozen Morro Bay oysters and a bottle or three of chilled Axis Mundi Mourvedre Rose!  Another great match is Dungeness Crab with garlic butter.  This is a bone dry rosé with low alcohol, which will help your traveling guests get home safely."

"Ham or turkey matches beautifully with a 2011 Clos Pepe Estate Pinot Noir, which just won a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition.  Pinot noir has bright acidity that can cut through gravy or a glaze, and the bright fruit will refresh the palate and charm the soul."

"Thinking of something a bit richer, like lamb or ribeyes on the grill?  It’s not Santa Barbara, but the Olin Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is our sister brand and we can’t get enough of this balanced, sumptuous offering.  And the price is hard to beat!  Big red meats love the tannin structure of Cab."

"And don’t forget to make the Spirits Bright with our 100% pinot noir grappa!  Great to drizzle in coffee, on top of some apple sorbet, or straight up sipping!"

Wes Hagen, Vineyard Manager/Winemaker

Learn Wine: Clos Pepe Vineyards and Estate Wines:
Buy wine:  email Wes after setting up an account to get best pricing

Vineyard:  4777 East Highway 246, Lompoc, CA 93436
Office:  (805) 735-2196     Cell: (805) 886-0325  FAX: (805) 736-5907
National Sales Manager: Andrew Turner 310-486-2080,
Twitter:  @weshagen, @clospepe, @staritahills
Facebook:  Wes.Hagen

Tasting Room:  Taste of Sta. Rita Hills (Thursday-Sunday)
1505 East Chestnut (Back of the Wine Ghetto), Lompoc, CA (805) 735-8774

“Every wine deserves an hour at table, delicious food and two people in love.  Wine cannot be fully understood unless all three of these conditions are met."  --WD Hagen

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