A 4-Pack of HALL’s Exceptional 2013s
There’s a steadily growing number of allocation-only wines and wineries in Napa Valley, and HALL is among the best — producing an array of collector-hungry, members-only wines from their stunning LEED Gold-certified, state-of-the-art, gravity-flow winery in St. Helena.
In late April, we met with winemaker Steve Leveque in one of the elegant tasting salons on site. Leveque, author of three 100-pointers, oversees a detail-obsessed farming culture that spans eight certified organic estates, all growing classic Bordeaux varieties.
Everything owners Craig and Kathryn Hall touch has a flourish and a style all their own. The supreme multitaskers don’t just own vineyards; they’re sought-after commentators on current affairs, real estate impresarios, and collectors of the finest art.
Kathryn Hall ran the growing operations for her family business in Mendocino. She met and married Craig Hall, the real-estate mogul, and together in 1995 they bought Sacrashe, a 60-acre parcel in Rutherford near Sloan above Auberge du Soleil. Today, that first purchase remains the crown jewel of HALL’s vineyard portfolio and the site has produced more than a few 100-pointers.
Dozens of their wines have appeared in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 lists, and over 140 HALL Wines have earned scores from 90-100 points. In reviewing the latest HALL 100-pointer, Robert Parker put it plainly: “It’s time to jump on the Hall bandwagon, as they are doing everything right, and their wines are among the most exciting being made in the world today.”
The Halls also surround themselves with talent. We’ve followed winemaker Steve Leveque from his days at Robert Mondavi Winery and Chalk Hill, and President Mike Reynolds since his days as winemaker/general manager at Schramsberg. In April, we enjoyed a coveted private 2-hour appointment with Leveque. We toured, tasted, talked — and emerged with an offer every one of our competitors can only dream about.
Today’s HALL Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon 4-bottle pack — a WineAccess EXCLUSIVE — includes two bottles each of the 2013 HALL Wines “Ellie’s” Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 HALL Wines “Coeur” Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are blends, fermented by indigenous yeasts, bottled unfined and unfiltered.
“2013 was an awesome vintage,” Leveque told us. “I’ve been making wine for 25 years. Parker loved it.” We know, of course, with Parker calling it “the greatest vintage in 37 years.” Leveque works with 70 different growers in 13 of Napa’s 16 AVAs. “For these blends, I work with long-term contracts to create consistency and cluster sovereignty from year to year.”
Cluster sovereignty? “It’s my approach to canopy management,” Leveque said, “which allows some light penetration to all berries. We do a ton of leaf-pulling to slow down sugar development and allow tannins to catch up and access ripening of grape flavors. I’ll pick one row eight different times to get evenness across all grapes and picks.”
The 2013 “Ellie’s” Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend comprised entirely of mountain fruit, sourced from select plots 1,000 feet up Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, and Howell Mountain. Extensive cold soak to extract aromatics and color. Opaque ruby-purple aromas leap from glass. Pronounced red-berry fruit, baking spice, crème de cassis, and sweet tobacco aromas. Full-bodied and dense, but light on its feet with black cherry fruit, chocolate-covered raspberries, underscored by roasted herbs leading to an earthy saline note on a long finish. Electric acidity and fine-grained tannins round out a stunning package.
In contrast, the 2013 “Coeur” Cabernet Sauvignon is made primarily with fruit from HALL Estate Bergfeld Vineyard, with additional grapes from nearby sites in the St. Helena AVA, all planted on gravelly soils with great drainage. Leveque says that yields “a real dark-fruited profile” and we agree. Only the second vintage of this cuvée, it is a beautiful, deep ruby-red in the glass. Lavish red-berry aromas, candied cinnamon, and new-wood cedar. Round and juicy on entry, more red-berry fruit mingles with sweet tannins and lofty, herbaceous aromas wrapped in a black cherry fruit package. A lengthy finish is marked by chalk-like minerality.
Robert Parker called this 2013 “Ellie’s” “Full-bodied, powerful,” and “built for the long haul,” with “at least 25 to 30 years of aging potential,” and slapped on 93+ points. Wine Enthusiast upped the ante, dropping 94 points and gushing: “Within its fountain of power exists a strong sense of grace.” Parker set the “Coeur” on equal footing as “Ellie’s” with 93+ points, calling it “Full-bodied, opulent and fleshy,” and a wine that can be “drunk now in its exuberant youthfulness” or cellared “two decades or more.”
Elsewhere: Impossible. But exclusively on WineAccess, just $270 for our HALL Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon 4-bottle collection. Thanks to Mike Reynolds for giving WineAccess members a shot at Steve Leveque’s stunning renditions of Napa Cabernet. Shipping included on all orders. This is special.