During my first visit to Napa Valley in early 2009, Hall was one of the most memorable wineries of the trip. My husband suggested it after reading several great reviews of the wine in Wine Spectator and I couldn’t really argue with that! Situated on Highway 29 just south of downtown St. Helena, Hall Wines – owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall – has built a small “campus,” comprised of new and historic facilities. Signature red signage and accents direct guests to the tasting center, where they will be awed by an extensive collection of uniquely Hall-commissioned art installations.
On that initial stop, the wine did in fact blow me away. At that time, I remember enjoying tastes of nearly everything on the list – Sauvignon Blanc, “Darwin” Proprietary Red, “T Bar T Ranch” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Merlot, “Jack’s Masterpiece” Cabernet and “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet. Each sip tasted better than the last. True to their style, several of the Artisan bottles also featured label art – some of which changes with each new vintage or comes with an interesting story. (For example, the Darwin tells of their experience nearly going down in a small plane crash in Australia.) The staff was also very friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable – I loved the Hall “vibe.”
On subsequent visits, we also tasted at their Rutherford location, an experience that begins with an estate tour, stories of Kathryn’s role as Ambassador to Austria, and look at some of the more notable art installations. It culminates with a relaxed tasting in their breathtaking cave. The most impressive element in the room is the rustic crystal chandelier, which looks like an upside-down grape vine, or the roots of a tree growing above. What’s really intriguing about the Hall’s properties is that they are impeccably appointed, “smartly” designed and built with a purpose. Trees outside the St. Helena tasting room look exactly like oversized grape vines. A large picture-window inside the Rutherford tasting room perfectly frames the Valley view below. Even the barrels that line the interior of the cave are painted to exactly the same shade of Hall red in stunning uniformity.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to find some Hall wine in Chicago but appreciate the opportunity to try more of their Artisan reds while in Napa. Read more →