I stumbled upon Hart’s Desire at the Waterfront Tasting Room (53 Front Street, Healdsburg, CA) during Taste Alexander Valley, 2012. John Hart and his daughter, Shea, were working the room. They were both marvelous, their knowledge and enthusiasm for the wines filling the room with excitement. A small but adventurous winery, Hart’s desire makes more than sixteen varietal wines, but in low volume, ranging from 30 to 300 cases per wine. If you get a chance, go to the tasting room and talk to Shea. She is a lovely young woman, a complete wine geek, and a great ambassador for her family’s wine. Conversation flitted from the history of the winery (there are rumors that there just might have been a bottle or two delivered from the trunk of a car way back in the distant past) to the science of how different people perceive tastes based upon how the brain stem retain memories of scent to her love of books (ask her, if you dare, about what her grandmother said about her book tattoo). She also described wine in words that give Joe Roberts competition for his twitter notes, saying of the Sangiovese Rosé that it is a wine she likes to take to the porch, with a book, and “drink and read ’til my cheeks are hot and the bottle’s empty.”

Hart’s Desire Sangiovese Rosé

The nose shows bruised strawberry and a hint of funk. The palate opens with strawberries, then adds apple skins on the mid-palate and a bit of minerality on the finish. This has terrific complexity, showing unexpected layers and depth in a well-priced rosé. Drink with grilled swordfish. Recommended (88-90). DH

WHO: Hart’s Desire
WHAT: Sangiovese
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: 2010
HOW MUCH: $20

Hart’s Desire Cabernet Sauvignon

The nose shows eucalyptus and mint, with hints of dark chocolate, all over high-toned red fruit. The palate opens with very interesting herbals, eucalyptus over mint, complementing the primary black cherry flavor. Bing cherries and raspberries are on the mid-palate. The finish lingers. Drink with lentils and wild mushrooms. A stunner at this price. Highly Recommended (91-93). DH

WHO: Hart’s Desire
WHAT: Cabernet Sauvignon
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: 2007
HOW MUCH: $30

Hart’s Desire Chardonnay

There are apples on the nose. The mouth-feel is creamy. Flavors are very fresh sweet apples, getting a bit tart on the finish. Drink with baked chicken. Recommended (87-89). DH

WHO: Hart’s Desire
WHAT: Chardonnay
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: 2011
HOW MUCH: $28

Hart’s Desire Viognier

The nose is varietaly right on, showing a mélange of tropical fruits.  The palate opens with tangelo and melon, adding apple on the mid-palate. The finish lingers. Drink with flounder with mango salsa. Highly Recommended (90-92). DH

WHO: Hart’s Desire
WHAT: Viognier
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: 2011
HOW MUCH: $32

Hart’s Desire Merlot

Black cherries and blueberries show on the nose. The palate shows a very soft blend of red and be fruit, Bing cherry and elderberry. Tannins sneak up on the mid-palate, firm and dusty. Drink with a New York strip. Recommended (87-89). DH

WHO: Hart’s Desire
WHAT: Merlot
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: 2007
HOW MUCH: $30

Hart’s Desire Muscat

The nose is light, giving up hints of apricot. On the palate, honey, peaches, and cream make a sweet lead. Tart apricots show on the finish. Acids are good, supporting the sugars. The finish lingers. Drink with goose liver pâté with pistachios. Recommended (86-88). DH

WHO: Hart’s Desire
WHAT: Orange Muscat (70%), Muscat Blanc (30%)
WHERE: Alexander Valley, California
WHEN: NV
HOW MUCH: $25 500ml

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