I rarely get the chance to focus on visiting and writing about one winery in Napa Valley or anywhere. I am constantly asked for a top list of places to visit in Napa or Sonoma but the next natural question I ask is what are you seeking either in experience, wine or both.
There isn’t just one or two places to recommend but many. That is why I want to point out Hall in St. Helena. A showcase of wine and art and history under one roof. The art work is both a showpiece but also makes the total experience magical and absolutely special.
The art work at Hall is not just well done it is outstanding. How many wineries have a John Baldessari art piece–none except Hall (that I am aware of)? There is art tastefully placed throughout. The celebration of art work and wine is such a comfortable and exciting fit. Wine needs and I have said as well is art; art needs wine.
The 150 year old Bergfeld Winery building is so beautiful and respectfully restored. You get a beautiful of west on the second floor. Me and three great friends of mine were on the Hallmark Tour and Tasting. The tour was professional and friendly and nicely done in terms of background, history, art focus, and, of course, wine.
The architecture of the tasting room and tank rooms was built in 2014 are so forward thinking and appreciable. Signum is the architectural firm of record. It is a great building; a comfortable building and exciting to see from inside and out. Hall has intrigued me not just because of the beautiful architecture and because of the vision of owners/founders Craig and Kathryn Hall. Originally Frank O. Gehry had designed the new winery–from the beginning it was filled with concern about being shinny and metallic design. The final design was a wood structure which for Gehry was the first of a kind. The Gehry design was scrapped for the LEED certified and current building by Signum. I think it is a smart and forward thinking design that is comfortable in it’s own skin.
I have never seen a more attractive and inviting tank room; usually they are terribly cold and absolutely functional. The red glass pieces on one side and the other has graphic stars and flowers—I usually look forward to leaving a tank room but this one I could have stayed much longer.
In the tasting you will taste from the WALT label which is a variety of Pinot Noir from Carneros, Sonoma Coast, Sta. Rita Hills, and Santa Lucia Highlands.
This is a cabernet house so there are a number you will taste (tasting of wines will vary per visit). The cabernet’s Hall produces are mainly from Napa Valley like Kathryn Hall (flagship and highest rated wine in the collection); there is also Coeur, Jack’s Masterpiece, Diamond and Howell Mountains, Terra Secca, T-Bar T-Ranch, 1873, and Bergfeld
Here are the wines I tasted:
WALT Brown Ranch Carneros Pinot Noir 2016
Scent: Blackberry, moist crushed stone, fennel and violets
Palate: Heirloom blackberry, pepper, graphite, crushed red candy and red rose petal.
Hall Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Scent: Loch Ness blackberry, fresh pepper and Thyme, and red flower bunch.
Palate: Dark cherry Coulis, wild blackberry, pepper, bay leaf, and dried rose petal.
Hall Ellie’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Scent: Blackberry, cassis, lavender, suede.
Palate: focused bramble berries, black pepper, and autumnal herbs.
Hall Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Scent: Dark cherry, cassis, underbrush, and dried flowers.
Palate: Loch Ness blackberry confit, mix of peppers, crushed herbs and Cardamom
A very impressive winery to visit–a high recommendation to visit for an unforgettable experience.
Make a reservation for an unforgettable tour.
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
Visit to Hall Winery courtesy of producer.
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