My experiences with Hall Wines over the years have included tours at both the Hall, Rutherford Hill winery and the original winery, that has had some incredible updating, on Highway 29. We also attended a Hall Cabernet Release Party that was really a showcase of all Hall wines and the wonderful local food. I try to share their press releases quite a bit as well. I had not, however, reviewed any of the wines from home in a long time. That changed when I received these two bottles for review. Both were very good and only make me want to visit them again.
2016 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Observations only: Love a deep punt and a heavy weighted bottle, always makes me think the wine has extraordinary value. The color was a deep garnet with a crystal clear edge.
Aroma: Black pepper tickled my nose at first, and then a lot of black plum, crushed black cherries, red peppercorn, toasted oak and pipe tobacco.
Flavor: Very spicy up front with some redder fruit mid-palate, that same black fruit as on the nose, tri-color pepper, rich, tannic, dark with a long and drying finish.
Wine.com shows these scores: Robert Parker/The Wine Advocate 97, Wilfred Wong 96, Jeb Dunnuck 95, Vinous/Antonio Galloni 94, Wine Enthusiast 94.
From Wine Spectator, July 15,2020 issue, 96 points, release price of $185. Tasting notes: A beauty, with creamed plum, braised fig and melted black licorice notes that are long and deep, gliding through effortlessly and ending with a swath of espresso, loam and smoldering tobacco details. Hard to resist now, but will cruise in the cellar. Best from 2021 through 2035. 6,600 cases made. — JM (James Molesworth, senior editor.)
My conclusion: Not to disagree with any of our experts, I’m somewhere between Galloni and Wong. Great wine!
Walt Wines 2018 Pinot Noir, Bob’s Ranch, Sonoma County
Observations: Dark cranberry in color with a dark gold edge. We had this with Pork Wellington and it was perfect.
Aroma: tart red cherry, earth, crushed leaves, round.
Flavor: red to dark cherry, red currant, very round mouthfeel – which I felt would come from the nose – long and tingly finish.
My conclusion: Though not a big Pinot fan I do appreciate the excellent fruit and care that went into this wine. I would not and did not stick up my nose against it. Would definitely drink again. And again.
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points, “…it offers an outstanding bouquet of bright black cherry and mulberry fruit intermixed with Asian spices, violets, and pine/foresty notions. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, and beautifully textured, this terrific Pinot Noir has plenty of classic Sonoma Coast complexity and elegance and will keep for 5-7 years.” $85
From Wine Spectator: This wine not rated, two other 2018 Walt Pinots, both from Santa Lucia Highlands, Rosella’s Vineyard and Sierra Mar were awarded 92 points each and the release price on both were $75.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
ORONDO, Wash.,/PRNewswire/ — Rocky Pond Estate Winery, the Washington producer crafting wines from their beautiful and sustainably farmed riverside and lakeside estate vineyards, has reached an agreement with highly regarded and accomplished winemaker and viticulturist Steve Leveque. He will join the team for the 2020 growing season and will lead all winemaking activities alongside their established Winemaker Shane Collins and current vineyard management team led by Javier Rocha.
“We are filled with excitement and anticipation as we welcome Steve to the team,” stated Owners and Founders David and Michelle Dufenhorst. “This is another building block in our mission to elevate Rocky Pond as the top Eastern Washington wine destination. We believe in the potential of this special region, its micro-climates, and soils. By adding Steve to share his wealth of experience and to guide our excellent winemaking and vineyard teams, we hope to take our offering to the next level.”
Leveque’s list of winemaking work is impressive, extensive, and full of household names like HALL, Chalk Hill, Opus One, and Mondavi. His addition to the Rocky Pond team is a monumental investment in the future of wine quality and vineyard management that will further elevate and expand the burgeoning program for decades to come.
Leveque honed his winemaking techniques during his 10-year tenure as winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery. He also gleaned cutting-edge ideas from leading viticulture research and visionary collaborators including prominent wine consultant Michel Rolland. Steve went on to work as executive vice president and winemaker of Chalk Hill Estate Winery in Sonoma, where he handcrafted an award-winning portfolio from small-lot Bordeaux varietals and Chardonnay.
Leveque has also earned three 100 Point scores from Wine Advocate, two 100 Point scores from Jeb Dunnuck and the #2 Wine in the World from Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2011. Over 80 of Steve’s wines have been rated 99-95 Points from the elite wine publications.
“I am excited and humbled to be working with such a dedicated and talented team. The level of commitment and leadership shown by the Dufenhorst family is something I rarely get to experience, and I can’t wait to make wine from their amazing vineyards,” states Steve Leveque. “The Double D and Rocky Reach vineyards, with an abundance of rock and glacial silt soils, coupled with ideal climatic conditions, makes me confident that world-class wines will be the standard at Rocky Pond.”
The Dufenhorsts have been actively compiling quite the all-star team. They are laser-focused on increasing quality across the board through innovation in winemaking, sustainable vineyard practices, and elevated hospitality experiences. Leveque will work alongside current Rocky Pond Winemaker and native of Lake Chelan Shane Collins in addition to President John Ware who recently took the reins after twenty years at Quilceda Creek.
Rocky Pond currently operates two beautifully adorned tasting lounges – one in Chelan and the other in Woodinville – for their beloved wine club members and wine lovers alike. They invite guests for wine tastings, bottle purchases, and culinary chef specials created by their in-house Executive Chef each week by reservation at www.rockypondwinery.com.