Quick Trip – Haak Winery

We try to participate in every #GoTexan Twitter Tuesday wine tasting. This month featured three wines from Haak Winery in Santa Fe and Raymond Haak, the owner and winemaker spoke about his winery and each wine, and answered questions brought up by the participants. Most of the people who join the session are somehow related to the wine industry itself, so we get to see some very informative conversation between everyone in the group, and best of all, we get to meet some fascinating folks.

During the session, Raymond invited us to visit the winery and he’d treat us to a personal tasting, and since we live reasonably close to SantaFe, we decided to head there on Wednesday.  Jim Johnson, our good friend from Alamosa Cellars in Bend, wasn’t able to get the featured wines, so I offered to grab him some when we went – after all, I owed him a couple of bottles.

We showed up at Haak later in the day than we had hoped and Raymond was preparing for a meeting, but he graciously took some of his prep time to talk to us while pouring us a few of our favorite wines he sells and some we hadn’t yet tasted. Since we have been there a couple of times before, we didn’t need the full tour and we wanted to make the most of the little time he had available to spendnwith us. Besides, we had tasted the featured wines during the Twitter Tuesday session.

I’m fascinated by Haak’s Madeira, so I focused most of my questions about his two different kinds, the Blanc Du Bois (white) Madeira and the Jacquez (red) Madeira. If you’re not familiar with madeira, it’s similar to port in the initial treatment – fermenting the grape juice then adding neutral alcohol spirits or sometimes brandy. Where madeira differs is that after the fortified juice is barreled, the barrels are placed in an estufa for aging. The estufa is like a sauna heated consistently at temperatures up to 130°F.  Haak maintains their estufa between 102°F to 106°F.  Haak ages their madeira until Raymond determines they are ready – the 2003 Jacquez was aged 24 months in oak whereas the 2004 was aged 30 months.

One fascinating thing Raymond told us about madeira is that once it is botled, the flavor will never change. This is really good because Raymond can test his madeira, determine when it’s at its best, and know exactly what it will taste like for years to come. So I had to ask him: “What’s your best vintage? And do you have any for sale?” He does (the 2004 Jacquez). I now own one bottle of the 2003 Jacquez, two 2006 Jaquez, one 2004 Jacuqez, and one bottle of his 2007 Blanc du Bois Madeira. Yummy!

A quick note: Haak’s Jacquez Madeira was put up against 8 top Portuguese madeiras – some over a hundred years old – and placed 6th. A very good showing, IMO. Plus they have earned silver in the L.A. International Wine Competition

And I picked up Jim’s 2009 Tempranillo, 2010 Reserve Blanc du Bois (dry, of course), and ’06 Jacuez Madeira. Road Trip to Alamosa Cellars, anyone?

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