Monday, April 5, 2010

Quick Taste: Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc

by Rob Bralow, Wine Post Editor

The first time I was introduced to Hall Wines from Napa Valley was from a sample I received in the mail. It was a bottle of 2006 Hall Wines Katheryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. I did not really think too much about it. It had an attractive label, came in unattractive but serviceable packaging. Then I went to the 2009 Wine Experience hosted by Wine Spectator. Copies of the November 15th Issue were lying about everywhere, and I could not help noticing that the bottle that had just arrived in the mail was one of the three wines on the cover for the Napa Valley Issue.

I then got the chance to taste the wine during the orgy of wine that ensued. It was absolutely delicious. My notes can be found midway down the page at my blog post about the Experience.

When I received an e-mail asking me if I wanted to taste some more wines from Hall, I immediately said yes. I received a bottle of the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, both from Napa Valley.

2008 Hall Wines Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley - Fresh in the glass, the wine has a strong pink grapefruit expression, with some rich herbal notes, like fresh cut tea leaves. The taste was very peppery, with white pepper and jalepeno, finishing on grapefruit and lemon rind.

2006 Hall Wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley - I took this wine out to dinner with a few friends of mine, because I had some expectations for the wine. We went to a BYO Italian place, that I do not mention, because if I keep talking about it you might think I am shilling for them. I am not, I just love the place. Anyway, I opened this bottle there, with a few friends and found the wine to be as much the little brother of the Kathryn Hall Cabernet as I could hope. There was classic blackberry and cassis, with some ripe cherry and caramel. The taste was filled with cinnamon and chocolate, with some ripe fruit towards the end. The difference was that this wine did not taste as finished. The Kathryn Hall was pure bliss, while this was just nice to drink. The difference between a swiss chocolate and a bar that you picked up at Acme. Both of chocolate, and both are tasty, but one just blows the other away. In my next life I think I will be a chocolate blogger...

Disclaimer: These wines were both received as unsolicited free samples.

News Update: I wrote this blog post about a week ago and checked through my e-mail and found that on March 31st Hall Wines announced by press release that the winery has received Organic Certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), one of the nation’s oldest and largest organic certification and trade associations in North America. The organic farming certification process spans three years and each of HALL’s six estates located throughout Napa Valley and Alexander Valley in Sonoma County follow the strict guidelines set forth by the CCOF. To date in 2010, 355 acres owned by the HALL’s have been certified organic. The last of the estate vineyards, known as the Hardester Ranch with 145 planted acres, will receive its organic certification on August 18, 2010.

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