Wine Whore Review:

Hawkes Pyramid Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (click for more info)
Taste Score = 9.5/10 Points
Enjoyability Score = 9.5/10 Points (Additional stats below)

This week, the rules have changed. My latest wine experiment has brought me into new territory. I have decided to pair two wines previously unlikely ever to have been put together in a taste test. Like last week's 'Old Vine New Wine' poll, you chose which bottle should fill my glass, but instead of asking you to pick just one wine, I let you decide which PAIR of wines I should compare.

The theme: Can't Buy Me Love

Here's how it worked... you voted and I drank!

Acting as an uninformed consumer, I asked you to choose your favorite purely based on label and cost. Each pair included a low cost budget �Wise Wine� selection and a more expensive version made from the same varietal. By comparing two different costing bottles of the same type of wine, I am hoping to see if price makes a difference in the taste and overall enjoyability of a wine.

The Cabernet Sauvignon pair you chose for me to compare:

  • Hawkes PYR '05 ($60) vs Sonoma Creek '07 ($16)

$60 versus $16 is quite a price difference... does the Sonoma Creek wine even stand a chance? Think twice, there is an important lesson to be learned by this taste test. Keep reading to find out what you should consider next time you even think of choosing a wine solely based its price.

Never Wine Alone:
If you were with me for the virtual tasting via Twitter and Facebook you already have a good idea of how well this Cabby pair performed. If you missed it, take a minute to mark your calendar with next week�s tasting (Wednesday @ 6:30pm ET) and keep reading to see how it all went down.

Vintage Info:
"Estate grown and bottled in the Alexander Valley. 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in barrel for 30 months, 50 percent new French oak. From the best of fruit on our rugged Pyramid Vineyard, located in the hills between Chalk Hill and Knights Valley. Volcanic soils. Dark Fruits. Showy. Huge. Just 300 cases produced. Released November 2008. 150 cases available to consumer." - Hawkes Winery

Producer: Hawkes
Vintage: 2005
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Pyramid Vineyard Alexander Valley, California
Residual Sugar: N/A
pH: N/A
Production: 300 total cases/ 150 available to consumers
Alcohol %: 14.1
Aging: Aged in barrel for 30 months, 50 percent new French oak
Cost: $60/bottle (Get your own bottle!)

Wine Whore Score:

My wine time tasting experience summarized by the senses...

To the eyes:Deep ruby red accompanied by sediment lackadaisically lingering in the bottle.

To the nose: Licorice infused black cherry cola with a hint of vanilla tobacco wrapped in leather and spiced with a pinch of dirt.

On the tongue: Buckets of soft yet expressive fruit elegantly hold tight with a complex and balanced woody grip.

On the finish: Delayed silky finish with ideal acidity holds it together while refreshing the palate

While the Hawkes Cabernet was superior in taste and enjoyability, the Sonoma Creek Cabernet held solid ground. Although Hawkes scored a 9.5 in both categories, Sonoma Creek was not far behind with its respectable scores of 8 and 8.5 respectively.

Ok, so now you may be thinking that the more expensive wine always wins. Not the case! In the end, when you compare the total scores across all categories for these two wines, Sonoma Creek actually came out ahead!

Why would I ever spend for the more expensive bottle? What made the Hawkes Cab so special?

It really came down to character of the wine. I'm not talking about its ability to charm a crowd or tell witty jokes. I'm talking about its ability to keep you guessing with every sip. Although both wines were enjoyable and well made, there was just a little extra something in the Hawkes that made it soar above the competition. Each sip revealed a new characteristic, trait, or sensation. When the bottle was empty, it left me wanting more. The next day, I woke up and wished I had another bottle. It's just magically addictive!

Is it worth spending almost four times the price of the comparison Wise Wine selection?

In my opinion, every bottle of wine has its place. Some bottles are more expensive and should be reserved for special occasions whereas other bottles are reasonably priced and make a great companions to every day drinking. What really matters is that you find the bottle that fits your mood, needs, and wallet at any particular moment.

While it is okay to have a regular fling with an inexpensively Wise Wine, taste this Hawke and you'll be convinced that sometimes you CAN buy love!


Interested in tasting this wine?
Click here to soar like a Hawke!

(Read more wine reviews and info at The Wine Whore)

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whineaux said...

Interesting concept, I like it and think you should keep going with it. I also find that a good wine changes tremendously as it opens where a less expensive wine actually becomes flatter (generalizing of course)

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you very much! I really like your statement about how the quality of a wine changes how it opens with air. I think I may even use this idea for next week's poll!


Kort said...

Missed the tasting but enjoyed the review immensely. Good insights!
I agree with whineaux too, see what happens next week when you let them breathe.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Kort! :) Thank you for enjoying the review and the kind words.

That's two votes, now I am definitely using this idea for next week's poll!


jFLASHj said...

Great Review! Would of been nice to maybe taste them with a big ole Steak!

Oh my sugguestion is do a Pinot duel next time. $60 vs $15 dollar bottle.

What do you think.

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you Flash! Pinot duel sounds like a great idea! I also have several that I have been meaning to try... stay tuned!


Shelly said...

So what happened to the less expensive bottle? I miised the tasting and see that you finished the expensive one. Did you drink the other the next day? How did it taste then? Or did you give it to your wife. I need more details.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Shelly,

I think I must have forgotten to include a link to the Sonoma Creek review:


Melinda said...

Nice! I love your scientific approach.

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you! Also be sure to check out this week's experiment on how cost influences the ability to decant a wine.


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