2007 Hook & Ladder Estate Chardonnay
This wine has a light color and is only slightly golden hued. From what I gathered through my tasting of this wine, is that they use oak only to compliment the fruit flavors and that the grapes are responsible for most of the character of this wine. The bouquet shows lots of citrus and lime peel notes accompanied by white blossom, wet stone, mineral, and a bit of 7-up! On the palate the citrus notes continued to impress, along with grapefruit, tangerine, lime zest, and just a touch of cream from the oak. As I said before, the fruit does most of the speaking with this wine and I'm impressed by the focus and clean fruit character. The wine is a bit short on depth but has great acidity and I think with food it would be fantastic! 89+ points
2007 Hook & Ladder Estate Gewurztraminer
This wine is unique in that it doesn't fall into the flabby and sweet domestic Gewurtz category that we know so well. It actually has really crisp acidity and is made in a dryer and more fresh style than most. On the nose I get lots of floral action and cherry blossom, as well as a good amount of tropical fruit and of course the classic lychee fruit. On the palate the tropical notes of papaya are quite evident and are accompanied by citrus fruit, peach nectar, and orange blossom. The wine is very crisp and clean and has an impressively sleek texture. By that I mean that it's not viscous and flabby in nature. This wine is not to dry or boring but more balanced and fresh. 87 points
2006 Hook & Ladder Estate Pinot Noir
Now this to me was the best wine of the lot because of it's purity of fruit and varietal integrity. They used the perfect amount of oak and let the fruit express itself in a focused and unhampered manner. The bouquet is so classically Russian River Pinot it's obnoxious!! Lots of robust aromas of strawberry rhubarb pie, crushed rocks, stone fruit, and red raspberry, that all express themselves with vigor and freshness. It sounds funny but you can almost smell the freshness and youth in this wine. The flavors profile consists of tart black cherry, strawberry puree, mineral, and crush rocks. The purity of fruit and razor sharp focus is what I love about this wine; oak does not intrude and the acid is sharp but perfectly in harmony with the opulence. Great varietal integrity and a long finish to boot! 91 points
PS: Kind of reminds me of a few Premier cru Burgundies I've tasted in terms of balanced fruit and acidity and the lack of oak. Love it!
2006 Hook & Ladder "The Tillerman"
I love this wine because for some strange reason the aromas remind me of being in Sonoma. Something about the dusty raspberry meets bell pepper thing brings me back to Sonoma. Any-who, The aromas of this wine do have a good amount of dusty raspberry, cacao, black cherry, and just a touch of bell pepper (which is very cool!). On the palate the wine has flavors of black raspberry, herb, pepper, black cherry, semi-sweet coco powder, black currant, and spice. The currant and spice really show up on the finish as well as an interesting cinnamon-spice character. This wine perhaps lacks a bit of polish but the complexity is most definitely there. 88 points
Over all a good group of wines that really spoke to me because of the absence of the "oak monster" - GV ... I really did enjoy the purity of fruit and the great acidity that all of these wines displayed. Kudos to the "snugness" -MD- (inside joke) and the crew at Hook & Ladder