Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/391612
october 2014 / the tasting panel / 73 A few winding miles south from the scenic coastal town of Monterey, the Santa Lucia Highlands is a commanding, defin- ing feature of California's Central Coast. The 12-mile-long AVA has vineyard plantings reaching more than 1,200 feet elevation. The Salinas Valley floor, stewed in cruciferous vegetation, lies in its shadow. This raised-benchland allows innovative winemakers to tinker away at cool-weather viticulture. The vineyards planted here rest exclusively on the northeastern-facing terrace, allowing for maximal morning sunshine as well as cool afternoon maritime breezes off Monterey Bay. Among the prized properties here is the Hahn Estate, the result of almost 35 years of devotion by Nicolaus "Nicky" Hahn, a Central Coast pioneer with a vision for world-class vineyards and wines in Monterey County. A torch-bearer for Santa Lucia Highlands, Nicky realized the wine-making potential of the region in the 1970s when he began purchasing tracts of land and planting vineyards. In 1980, he furthered this commitment to making Santa Lucia Highlands a renowned wine producing region, by purchasing the winery known today as Hahn Estate. Nicky led the multi-year campaign to establish Santa Lucia Highlands as a new AVA. His passion and dedication to the unique growing and climatic conditions of Santa Lucia Highlands was actualized in 1991, when the BATF officially President Tony Baldini of Hahn Family Wines and Director of Winemaking Paul Clifton.