Hamilton Oaks Wine Tasting

Hamilton Oaks is a charming winery nestled in the back of the Trabuco canyon. Passing cooks corner and making your way through the rolling hills of Trabuco you finally arrive at a secluded neighborhood where the winery is located with a small tasting room and lots of open patio space to sit and enjoy the wines.  Hamilton Oaks had 5 wines on the tasting list:

Chardonnay 2011

Teri: I normally lean towards reds but this Chardonnay was my favorite on their tasting list. Light, crisp, apple and pear with a very nice long finish. 91 points

Aaron: I was surprised at how smoothly this Chardonnay went down after experiencing the slightly acidic flavor.  Both the smell and the taste featured a dry citrus and I found this to be natural, but not as fruit forward as I would like.  86 points

Zinfandel 2006

Teri: This was an old vine zinfandel–normally gives richer qualities to the grape variatle. The nose was the best part on this wine with strong strawberry and sweet floral smells. The medium tannins gave a shart bite at first taste then the finish was smooth and full. I still received lots of strawberry (as hinted in the smell) and strong pepper on the finish. Good overall but not my favorite. 81 points    

Aaron: I love old vine zins – the bold flavors are always appealing to me, but I found this to be thin and almost bitter.  The smell was brilliant with a strong sense of strawberry and a mixture of multiple other berries.  My best description is that this wine wants to have a jammy flavor when it grows up – it really just isn’t there yet. One consistency throughout all the wines we tried here was the dirty oak flavor (certainly not my preference).  This dissipated quickly but left a hint of spice lingering on after the swallow.  84 points

Melange de sud 2009

Teri: This was Hamilton’s standards red table wine blend of merlot, cab, syrah, and barbera. The nose was light and sweet but the wine itself had very strong tannins that left me with a strong puckering feeling after the flavor dissipated quickly. I was excited to see that this blend contained barbera, a favorite of mine, but this wine did not even come close to bringing the great barbera qualities. 68 points

Aaron: I was less than satisfied with this blend.  Though I’m not a fan of blends normally anyway, this flavor just didn’t last.  Moreover, for the short time it lingered on the palate there was a hint of oak, far too little fruit and not much else.  78 Points

Malbec 2008

Teri:  Malbec is continually gaining popularity in the US and also with me. Hamilton’s Malbec was a bright rich red color with strawberry and oak on the nose. The flavors also contained the strawberry and cherry making this a pleasant medium body wine. There was a slight bitterness to this wine that I seemed to get with all of the red wines we tried here. It is probably just a signature of the wine maker but it didn’t sit well with my taste buds. 85 points

Aaron:  I enjoyed the bold smell of this Malbec and sensed some fruit and cocoa.  The flavor featured mild tannins with some pepper but finished smoothly.  Unfortunately there was still simply not enough fruit flavor (this is wine we’re drinking right?).  I had difficulty qualifying what I tasted, it wasn’t exactly oak, but it was definitely a little dirty.  85 points

Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Teri: This cab carried a very similar nose to all of the red wines we tried while at Hamilton: medium strength, red fruits. The wine had a burst of fruit (cherry, plum) on the forward taste then lots of oak taste on the finish with some pepper. Good overall but not anything spectacular in my opinion. 78 points

Aaron: I felt this cab was definitely the best of all the wines we tried at Hamilton but still not great.  The bouquet was musty with moderate fruits and did not blend well with the flavor.  The most noticeable attribute was the medium tannins on the aftertaste, coupled with a slightly peppery and almost chalky flavor.  I felt this would be drinkable with a meal whose flavor wasn’t too intense, but did not stand alone well.  86 points


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