Hansen Cabernet Challenge-Vintage 2008-January 21st, 2017

One of the funnest Cab challenges I’ve had the honor of witnessing. The judges sensory evaluation skills were put to the test as Hansen’s general manager, Pat Stoddard, make extraordinary efforts in order to make this challenge COMPLETELY blind. Seven wines were entered in this challenge and 1-3 place was listed as follows….

  1. Hansen Vineyards 5 Barrel, Templeton~ 2008
  2. LeCuvier, Paso Robles~ 2008
  3. “After Hours” a barrel sample taken from the Hansen Winery.


Other entries that were very palatable included Cabernet from: Still Waters , Vineyard, Paso Robles~ 2008, Stanger Vineyards, Paso Robles~ 2008,  Adelaida Vineyards, Paso Robles~ 2008 and Finally a Mondavi Reserve, Napa Valley~ 2008.


We started this challenge (which was held in the tasting room instead of the barrel room due to the colder temps) by cleansing the glass with a Hansen wine. This is done in order to remove any possible lingering detergents or any dust that would offset the judges palette.


Once cleansed, each of seven glasses were filled with a 3 oz. pour of the competing wines. The vertical tasting style allowed judges to examine the nose of each wine mindfully and re-visit each nose after the wine had sat in the glass for a bit. “Judge” Del pointed out that wine #1 had alcohol that jumped out at him while another judge called it juicy. The most unique nose to me was #4 as it carried the nuance of fresh picked clean fruit.  Everyone’s olfactory system is different and that helps to make these challenges fun.

With each of the seven wines placed in burlap sacks, participants (even Bruce) were unable to tell which wine it was that they were tasting. It was encouraged that the judges take three sips of a wine before making any decision in eliminating that wine. The Adelaida, Stanger, and Mondavi were the first to be eliminated by most, Del stated that if he had to drink a lot of #5  he would be unbuttoning the jacket on his tongue. HA! Participant Laurie really enjoyed #5 and it was great to see judges letting their opinions flow regardless if others agreed. What Laurie had to say of the challenge winner, Bruce Hansen’s 2008 was that it did not have a particular strong point, it was just a good wine overall.” Judge Miranda seemed to enjoy the fun of the blind tasting the most as she early guessed which wine was the one she had brought. It really amazed me that without any pre-conceived opinins, Bruce’s wine came out on top as usual. Cheers to you Bruce and thank you to all who came out and enjoyed this experience with us!!!!


Here of some other quotes from the evening…

“I’m sure on #7 and #4” ~ Wendy

“Start with the nose, take everything into consideration” ~ Bruce

” I didn’t like the finish, it was too fruity” ~ Chet

“I’ll take #7 all day long, I’ve liked it from the get go” ~ Terry

” #7 is hard to lock-down, very interesting. #3 would be great if I only had a bowl of Chili” ~ Jeremy

“Can I have some more of #7?” ~ Laurie



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