Since making their first vintage in 2005, George and Vivianne Hanson have tried to let the wines speak for themselves. This year, the wines have spoken clearly: “We need more room.”

Construction will begin on a new underground barrel cellar this spring. A small ravine between the winery and the house will be filled in and covered over with a large lawn and patio area. It is due to be completed at the end of the summer just in time for harvest.

Stability is what the Hanson’s are looking for when designing the new cellar. Being underground, temperature and humidity will be significantly easier to maintain efficiently, making it a better environment for aging future vintages.

Tasting through some of the recent releases from Seven Stones, it’s hard to find anything that might indicate that these wines have seen anything but the most stable conditions. The 2009 Pinot Noir was aged in bottle for nine months before release. Aromas of cherries, tea, spice, with only hints of oak lead to a palate that is velvety smooth with gentle tannins and a finish that will last until the credits roll. Hanson indicates that this wine has never been pumped and has been treated as gently as possible. Light-toasted new oak barrels contributed complexity and that velvety texture. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was also in bottle for nine months and shows wonderful aromas of violets, currants, and mint leaves. What will those vines say this year? Stop into the winery this year and ask George or Vivianne to find out. Or just pop open a bottle of Seven Stones and listen for yourself.

~ Luke Whittall