It had been a while since I had been up to the Napa Valley (my last visit was in May) so I made a trip up to the #1 wine region in the United States and visited Hall Wines. My first and only stop for the day at Hall Wines in St. Helena, the #131 winery I have visited in the Napa Valley since the year 2000.
Hall Wines was founded by Kathryn (Walt) Hall and her husband Craig Hall who have two children. Craig Hall is a successful businessman, investor and is chairman and founder of Dallas-based Hall Financial Group. Craig is also the author of five books, the most recent being Timing the Real Estate Market: The Secrets to Buying Low and Selling High.
Kathryn has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a vineyard in Mendocino County in 1972. The Walt family owns 63 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc in the Redwood Valley and has sold their grapes to such wineries as Fetzer, Parducci, and Beringer. Kathryn managed the family vineyard from 1982 to 1992. During this time she produced Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon under the label Walt Vineyards.
In addition to living in the wine world, Kathryn has an A.B. in Economics from U.C. Berkeley, a J.D. from the U.C. Hastings College of Law and she has had a distinguished career as a successful attorney. She also co-founded the North Texas Food Bank, served on the United States House of Representatives Hunger Advisory Committee, and was the director/vice president of the Texas Mental Health Association. Kathryn has served on the National Advisory Council for Violence Against Women and as a trustee of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She also served as the United States Ambassador to Austria from December 1997 to July 2001.
After her return to the United States, she has resumed her role as proprietor of Kathryn Hall Vineyards. Continuing upon her experience promoting American agriculture in Austria, in September 2001 she was appointed to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for international trade.
Hall Wines has two tasting room and winery locations in the Napa Valley, one in St. Helena and the other in Rutherford. Their vineyard collection features 5 Certified Organic estates encompassing more than 500 acres of Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.
The winemaker for Hall Wines is Steve Leveque who crafts 15 Cabernet Sauvignon wines each with its own distinctive profile which reflect the various unique terroirs of the Napa Valley.
Hall Wines utilizes high-density plantings in the vineyard and has two gravity-flow wineries. They are also very eco-friendly as site maintains one acre of solar panels on its roof and uses 100% recycled water throughout its processes, which is particularly important as the state of California has been experiencing a serious drought this year.
Inside the tasting room, out on the balcony and in the courtyard Hall combines modern art and architecture with comfortable luxury, and warm hospitality for their guests.
Adjacent to the modern winery, the Hall family has meticulously restored the 1885 Bergfeld Winery which they purchased in 2003. It was originally built by a New England sea captain named Peterson and was subsequently owned by Robert Bergfeld, head of one of the first families to make wine in Napa Valley. The Bergfeld Winery and changed hands many times until prohibition ended. After prohibition it was operated again under the Bergfeld Winery name until 1994 when it became Edgewood Estate.
While visiting I sampled the following wines:
2013 Hall “T Bar T Ranch” Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc
This is a clear white wine, pale straw in color with minor tint of green around the rim with medium viscosity. On the nose it is clean with medium+ to pronounced intense aromas of white grapefruit, lemon, under ripe pineapple, white flowers and lemon pith. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it is very crisp with medium+ acidity, medium bodied and it has a long clean and refreshing citrus finish. It was around 95 degrees outside so this was a very refreshing wine. I brought a bottle of this wine home for $30.
2012 Walt “The Corners” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
This is a clear red wine, ruby at the core to pink at the rim with medium viscosity. On the nose it has medium+ intense aromas of strawberry jam, raspberries, clove, cinnamon and a hint of cola. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it is very soft on entry with medium- tannins, it has mouth-watering medium+ acidity and a medium+ length finish. A well-balanced wine, it sells for $65 per bottle.
2012 Walt “Savoy Vineyard” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
This is a clear red wine, ruby at the core to pink at the rim with medium viscosity. On the nose it has medium+ intense aromas of red plums, very ripe strawberries, with hints of dried herbs, smoke, bacon fat and root beer. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it is very soft on entry with medium- tannins, it is medium bodied with medium+ acidity and a long finish. Although this wine and the previous Pinot were both from the Anderson Valley, “The Corners” Pinot reminded me more of the Russian River. I loved them both but I preferred the “Savoy Vineyard”. This wine sells for $65 per bottle but unfortunately it is available to Club Members Only.
2011 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This is an opaque dark ruby red wine with minimal rim variation and medium+ viscosity with slightly staining tears. On the nose it had moderate intense aromas of cassis, black cherries with a hint of green bell peppers, cocoa powder and touch of vanilla. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it is soft on entry with moderate velvety tannins, medium acidity, medium+ body and it has a long finish. This is a very easy-drinking wine and yet well balanced. The green notes are common for this vintage and yet they aren’t overbearing in this wine, in fact I prefer it to the stereotypical fruit bombs that are overblown with vanilla. This wine sells for $45 per bottle and I brought a bottle home.
2011 Hall “Ellie’s” Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is a Napa Valley blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot. It is an opaque dark ruby red wine with minimal rim variation and medium+ viscosity with slightly staining tears. On the nose it has intense and concentrated aromas of blackberries, black cherries, and black currants with hints of black licorice, freshly cracked pepper and cedar. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it very refined medium tannins, medium acidity, it is full bodied and has a long fruit driven finish. This wine sells for $80 per bottle.
2011 Hall “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit selected from a number of vineyards in the valley stretching from St Helena to Howell Mountain to their Sacrashe estate vineyard in Rutherford. It is an opaque dark ruby red wine with minimal rim variation and medium+ viscosity with slightly staining tears. On the nose it has intense and concentrated aromas of black currants, cassis, chocolate covered cherries, dark chocolate, violets and damp earth. On the palate the nose is confirmed, it very refined medium tannins, medium acidity, it is full bodied and has a long fruit driven finish. This wine sells for $135 per bottle, members only.
All of the wines I tasted at Hall were spectacular, all of the Pinots had a very seductive bouquet and the Cabernets were well balanced and delicious. I highly recommend visiting Hall on your next trip to the Napa Valley!
To see more pictures check out Erik Wait’s Wine Country Photography:
To visit or for more information:
401 ST. Helena HWY South
St. Helena, California 94574
Phone: (707) 967-2626