.Smith & Hook’s 2020 Proprietary Red: Top Quality on a Budget

Winemaker Megan Conatser uses grapes from Arroyo Seco, San Antonio Valley and Paso Robles to make magic

Smith & Hook Winery has created a classic Bordeaux blend of primarily Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Winemaker Megan Conatser explains that the Proprietary Red Wine is crafted with fruit from “three prestigious appellations of the Central Coast”: Arroyo Seco, San Antonio Valley and Paso Robles.

This “expressive blend” has a smooth palate; its intense aromas of red and black berries, plums and dark cherries are underscored by notes of lavender. It is rich with flavors of “dark fruit, bramble berries and a touch of dried eucalyptus, and warm spice on a lingering finish.” With its balanced structure and deep flavors, this 2020 Proprietary Red Wine Blend drinks like a bottle that costs much more than $25.

Smith & Hook was founded by the Hahn family four decades ago. There are two tasting rooms for you to visit and try their wines: their estate in Soledad and the delightful Carmel Plaza.

Smith & Hook Winery, 37700 Foothill Road, Soledad, 831-678-4555; Carmel Plaza, Mission Street, Carmel, 831-624-0138; smithandhook.com

El Vaquero Wins Big

Corralitos winery El Vaquero earned two Double Golds in the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition—one for the 2019 Carignane and one for the 2018 Cabernet Franc. Kudos to winemaker Alex Prikazsky. 

El Vaquero Winery, 2901 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville. 831-607-8118; elvaquerowinery.com


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