Wine Reviews: California’s Lobo Wines and Hawk and Horse

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-29-2022

I’m back to California this week with two producers who have some delightful new releases worth sharing.

I’ve been a fan of Lake County’s Hawk and Horse for years, so I was excited to taste their 2019 offerings. Especially considering the winery didn’t produce any wines in 2018 due to wildfires. Luckily, they’re back to form with their consistent, small-lot Bordeaux reds, which are sourced from the winery’s 18-acre estate vineyard, sitting at 1,800 to 2,000 feet with some steep slopes. The rocky, red volcanic soil and terroir here offer a signature fresh acidity that complements the dark fruit and pronounces spice tones very well. If you haven’t ventured far into Lake County wines, this is a great biodynamic producer to get to know.

Earlier this year, I tasted Napa’s Lobo Wines for the first time, and I’m back to check out their new 2019 vintage releases. I’m finding a lot of consistency in quality and deliciousness from this producer. Napa wines are never cheap, but this producer really offers a lot of interesting wines with fun flavors and styles for very reasonable prices.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2019 Lobo Wines Pinot Noir Wulff Vineyards USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $50
Deep ruby color. The nose shows a nice mix of sweet plums and black cherries along with tart red currants and cranberry relish, along with savory spices, rose potpourri, some clay and potting soil elements – a lot going on. Suave, full but fresh on the palate with smooth tannins and moderate acidity, with flavors of tart cranberry relish and juicy red cherries. Tones of cinnamon, rose hips, rhubarb, clay, spicy pepper. Very pretty, nuanced, should show a lot of exciting development the next three to five years. (91 points IJB)

2019 Lobo Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Wulff Vineyards USA, California, Napa Valley, Atlas Peak
SRP: $105
Deep purple color. Ooh, such a deep and saucy nose, with a compote of plums, blackberry, and complex tones of mocha, spiced black tea, gravelly earth and warm, sun-roasted herbs. The palate is full but vibrant with grippy but chewy tannins and lively acidity, with bold but tart blackberry, currant and plum fruit. Notes of earth, tar, chewing tobacco, they add complexity and depth, nuanced cedar and mocha elements. This will age wonderfully. (93 points IJB)

2019 Lobo Wines Merlot Wulff Vineyards USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $70
Vibrant purple color. Aromas of cherries and tart currants, plum sauce, with violets and graphite, along with tilled soil, coffee grounds – a lot going on here. The palate shows suave tannins, moderate acidity, a velvety and balanced appeal here. Tangy black and red currant fruit mixed with complexities of black tea, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Intriguing stuff that should age nicely for a solid bunch of years to come. (91 points IJB)

2019 Lobo Wines Howl Wulff Vineyards – USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $70
Vibrant purple color. Smells delightful, with plum and black cherry compote, so spicy and fun, with pepper, paprika, campfire and mesquite. The palate is full with a nice grip, smooth edges to the tannins, buttressed by vibrant acidity, well-balanced. The plum and tart blueberry fruit is delicious, with notes of tar, anise, mesquite, violets. There are some stony, mineral and earth tones to spare. Love the freshness – and this will age nicely. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. (92 points IJB)

2019 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Petit Verdot USA, California, North Coast, Red Hills Lake County
SRP: $65
Dark purple color. A deep core of roasted figs, plum sauce, along with charcoal, graphite, tilled soil, coffee grounds, violets – needs air to coax out the depths. The palate shows a solid core of roasted figs and currant paste, grippy tannins, moderate acidity, impressive balance and complexity. Cool mix of spicy and refreshing elements, and I get a lot of mesquite, tar, graphite, roasted red peppers and gravelly earth. A long-ager for sure. Don’t be scared of PV – this is delicious stuff! All Petit Verdot aged in 100% French oak. (91 points IJB)

2019 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Petite Sirah USA, California, North Coast, Red Hills Lake County
SRP: $65
Deep purple color. The nose shows a nice mix of tangy plums and blueberries, with spicy pepper, anise, some coffee, toffee and mocha. Nice grip on the palate but the tannins have these suave edges and the acidity is really nice, balancing out the deep plum and currant fruit. Notes of black olive, tar, mocha, black pepper and bell pepper add complexity, and I love the deep, earthy, mineral and stony vibes in here. There’s a ton of freshness in here for a Petite Sirah. This puppy will age wonderfully. All PS aged in all French oak. (91 points IJB)

2019 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, North Coast, Red Hills Lake County
SRP: $75
Medium purple color. Deep but tart aromas of blueberry and black cherries, with complex, deep and spicy tones: tar, mocha, sage, sweet red pepper, black pepper and balsamic glaze. The palate is full but smooth and, like the others, this wine’s acidity is really nice. Tangy plums and juicy black currant fruit blends well with leather, paprika, black pepper, spicy tobacco, mint. A lot going on, and I’d like to see this in five or six years. Cab Sauv with 2% Petit Verdot, aged in 100% French oak. (92 points IJB)

2019 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Franc USA, California, North Coast, Red Hills Lake County
SRP: $65
Deep purple color. The nose sports mulled cherries and deep currant fruit, with a spicy mix of anise, black pepper, tar, leather and espresso. Full but fresh, this shows solid grip but smooth edges to the tannins and moderate acidity. The fig paste and cranberry relish fruit is delicious, and it’s backed up with tar, anise, cocoa, sweet bell pepper, chewing tobacco and some black olive. Really fun and lively but also pretty, complex and age-worthy. All Cab Franc aged in 100% French oak. (91 points IJB)

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