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Thursday, July 21, 2011

'HALL WINES from Napa are ORGANIC and SUSTAINABLE" by Philip S. Kampe

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a small Tasting Dinner with HALL Wines (Napa Valley) President, MIKE REYNOLDS, father of six-year old JACK, who provided the artwork for "JACK'S MASTERPIECE" Cabernet Sauvignon. Mike shares the observation that JACK, at age six, autographs wine bottles and realizes that he has established 'CEELEBERTY' Status.

Mike admits that JACK is more popular than he is.

Not to take anything away from "JACKS MASTERPIECE", but, for HALL vineyards, it is not what is on the outside of the bottle that counts.

It is what is inside the bottle that matters. And Mike Reynolds PROVED to me that their five-hundred acres produce some of Napa's BEST WINES.

MIKE REYNOLDS is a walking encyclopedia of HALL Wine knowledge. He started with the company in 2002 as their WINEMAKER. (Today, Napa's own STEVE LEVEQUE is the head Winemaker). Mike moved from Winemaker to General Manager and now to President. Since 2006, Mike oversees the development of the HALL brand, vineyard and wineries. He has played a major role in the completion of the new state-of-the-art winemaking facility in Rutherford and the redesign plans for St. Helena, home of the business.
The St. Helena winery incorporates all structural requirements to qualify for the U.S. GREEN Building Council's LEADERSHIP in ENERGY and ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN (LEED) GREEN Building rating system,thus making HALL Winery the FIRST winery in California to achieve LEED Gold Certification status.

Mike explained HALLS Philosophy:
+ The Health of the Environment is essential when crafting wine.
+ HALL only uses natural products for weed and pest control.
+ Special attention is paid to biodiversity in the soil.
+ Cover crops are planted in all of the vineyards to minimize erosion and sedimentation of the local waterways.
+ HALL has incorporated the use of 50% bio-diesel in farming operations to reduce the overall carbon emissions.
+ HALL ships wine in recyclable and/or recycled packaging.
+ Recycled water is used for vineyard irrigation.

HALL is owned by entrepreneur CRAIG HALL and his wife, KATHRYN WALT HALL, former U.S. Ambassador to Austrian (1997-2001). Kathryn has been in the wine business for the past thirty years, as she managed her family's WALT Vineyard (Mendocino) from 1982 to 1992.

CRAIG and KATHRYN WALT HALL explain wine:
"The real beauty in making wine is that, unlike an enduring work of art that can be experienced time and time again, wine is living and ephemeral, created to be consumed. Years of strenuous work, meticulous methods and patient waiting culminate in the pull of the cork, the sip from the glass and the last drop in the bottle.
Then, we, begin again. Each vintage is a unique creation. Working to capture the year of a vineyard in a bottle is always a magical and humbling experience."

The HALL Wine Vineyards encompass more than FIVE HUNDRED acres of classic BORDEAUX varietals, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MERLOT and SAUVIGNON BLANC. Cutting edge technology yields grapes of the highest quality, as Mike explained, LESS FRUIT yield per acre equals higher quality wine. HALL is ORGANIC, UNFILTERED and according to Mike, HOLISTIC. HALL practices organic small-vine viticulture, wild yeast fermentation and micro-block-blending to fully extract the purity and unique characteristics of Napa Valley's climate and soils.

The wines I tasted with MIKE REYNOLDS were all EXCEPTIONAL, not only by my standards, but, by the World's Greatest Critics: ROBERT PARKER, ANTHONY DIAS BLUE, WINE SPECTATOR,WINE ENTHUSIAST and The WINE ADVOCATE.

Wine notes:

SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 (91 POINTS) Ripe fruit, balanced , soft and expressive. Citrus on the nose followed by fresh lime, grapefruit and lemon on the palate. Great acidity and minerality on the finish. A MUST wine with seafood or can be used as an aperitif on a warm day. A TRUE VALUE!($21.99)

NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 (95 POINTS RP) Dense, opulent and full-bodied with hints of black licorice, cassis, and dark chocolate dominate this complex wine. Barrel-aged for 16 months in new French Oak creates an earthy, racy wine that will grow year by year. ($48)

BERGFELD ST.HELENA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 (90+ POINTS RP) Aromas of cherry, blueberry and plum prevail coupled with flavors of concentrated dark cherry, blackberry, plum and cloves. Silky, complex and elegant describe this wonderful wine.
Aged for 22 months in 70% new French Oak. A PERFECT GIFT FOR COLLECTOR'S ($100)

DIAMOND MOUNTAIN DISTRICT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 (90 POINTS) This silky, concentrated, complex wine mirrors the terroir of the Mayacamus Mountains of the Napa Valley. Flavors of cocoa, black cherry and spiced black tea burst on the palate. Barrel aged for 22 months in 75% new French Oak, this round, earthy wine
will be a crowd pleaser. It is sweet and opulent. ($110)

"JACK'S MASTERPIECE" CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 (93 POINTS) Fruit forward aromas of vanilla and blackberry dominate before your palate explodes with dense tannins, dark fruit and black licorice. Opulent and ready to drink. ($125)

"KATHRYN HALL" CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 (96 POINTS) Complex, depth and endless flavor make this wine an EXCEPTIONAL VALUE. Aromas of raspberries, cocoa, herbs and blackberries awake your senses. Soft and round with a balance, "Kathryn Hall" improves with each sip. There is a depth of flavor on the palate, mainly milk chocolate, leather, sweet cherry and leather. A SPECIAL elegant and classy wine modeled after owner Kathryn Hall. A MUST BUY! ($80)

HALL Wines are poured in TOP RESTAURANTS Around the World.
Wines can be PURCHASED online via their website: www.HallWines.com

PHILIP S. KAMPE
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com
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