As I made my way up the long staircase to the tasting room, I had the feeling like this would be something serious. Many colleagues and winemakers I have spoken to have been overwhelmingly positive about the 2016 vintage in Napa. David Ramey described it as ‘incredible’ while Sojourn Cellars winemaker Erich Bradley noted that 2016 has ‘incredible opulence.’ Sitting down with HALL President Mike Reynolds, he shared his thoughts, describing the 2016 vintage as ‘probably somewhere between 2013 and 2014. It is not as soft as 2014 was but is somewhat in the same range in terms of the density of tannins. . . beautiful and rich wines.’
I have written about HALL wines since I first visited their tasting room back fifteen years ago. Initially founded in 1992 by Kathryn and Craig Hall, HALL have built one of the most beautiful, state of the art, wineries in Napa. I have been blown away with the consistency of these wines, particularly in recent years. It is clear that the focus on quality is paramount as this winery has not only been blessed with an exceptional run of vintages but has been known to succeed even in the more challenging vintages like 2010 and 2011.
The 2016 HALL ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 97) is a masterful effort. The wine shows incredible texture and its hallmark seamless quality that runs through the palate. This is as good as any ‘Kathryn Hall’ wines that has ever been produced. I was blown away with all of their ‘Platinum Collection’ wines, which are up there with the best wines that I have reviewed in the past year. These are very limited production wines that exude class. If you can get your hands on the 2016 HALL ‘Rainin’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 99), I would welcome you to try what is one of the best wines that I have tried in the past year. Seamless and rich, with incredible verve, the 2016 ‘Rainin’ is up there with the best that I have ever tried from this storied Napa estate. Learn more about these beautiful wines at hallwines.com Here are the beautiful new wines by HALL.
2016 HALL ‘1873’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 HALL ‘1873’ Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a host of vineyards primarily in the Atlas Peak AVA and also vineyards to the north of that AVA. The ‘1873’ shows off an inky color and begins with shades of red bell pepper that mingle with milk chocolate and tar on this expressive nose. Soft and plush on the mouth, the wine delivers seductive black tea, Asian spices, mocha and sweet pipe tobacco flavors. The length and soft texture really entices. Outstanding in its youth, this beautiful wine will cellar well for fifteen years or more. Drink 2019-2035- 94
2016 HALL ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon is a show-stopping wine from superstar winemaker Steve Levesque. The core fruit source for the wine is the Sacrashe Vineyard as this is a barrel-selection Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The nose is simply captivating as violets and tar collide with shades of blueberry compote and sweet pipe tobacco that all sing in the glass. Soft and plush on the mouth, the wine delivers a seamless quality with wonderful weight that truly entices. Blueberry compote, leather, mocha, creosote and shades of Asian spices all shine brightly on this exceedingly good palate. With polished tannins this finishes long with dark fruits and minerals. While a delight to consume in its youth, the 2016 ‘Katheryn Hall’ will provide drinking enjoyment for twenty years. Drink 2020-2040- 97
2016 HALL ‘Jack’s Masterpiece’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Jack’s Masterpiece’ by HALL is a stunning new wine that is built to age for decades. Sourced from a host of Napa Valley AVAs, the ‘Jack’s Masterpiece’ shows deep tar, Turkish coffee, dried sage, with dusty terroir aromatics all are brilliantly woven together on this expressive nose. The power on the mid-palate is quite massive as the wine shows moderate tannins with shades of espresso bean, tar, black currant jelly and shades of blackberry pie. Seductive and intense in its youth this beautiful wine will cellar well for decades. Try to give this spectacular wine at least another year prior to consumption. Drink 2020-2040- 96
2016 HALL ‘Montagna Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon- A new wine to the HALL collection of Cabernet Sauvignon wines, the ‘Montagna Vineyard’ is located on Pritchard Hill towards the top of the hill, as the vineyard is blessed with sweeping views of the town of Napa. The nose is highly perfumed here with violets that mingle with shades of black tea, exotic spices, black currants and dusty terroir that all collide in the glass. The silky texture beautifully coats the mid-palate. Chinese black tea, blackberry cobbler, creosote and shades of espresso bean all mingle together on this beautiful palate. There is a wonderful elegance to the wine. With fine grained tannins lining this wine and a wonderful mid-palate weight, this beautiful wine will have an exceedingly long life in the cellar. Drink 2019-2040- 96
2016 HALL ‘Exzellenz’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The ‘Exzellenz’ is limited production wine that was entirely sourced from the Sacrashe Vineyard on Diamond Mountain. The aromatics of the wine are simply gorgeous as the wine immediately unveils crushed mint and black tea that mingle with shades of creme de cassis, Turkish coffee and blueberry compote that sing together in harmony. The silky texture and mouthfeel to the wine is remarkable as soft tannins line this beautiful wine. Blackberry pie, blueberry, tar and milk chocolate with earthy undertones and minerals all marvelously amalgamate on the palate. The exceedingly long finish lingers with black fruits and minerals. While seductive and deep in its youth, this beautiful wine will continue to cellar well for decades. Drink 2019-2040- 97
2016 HALL ‘Rainin Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The ‘Rainin Vineyard’ is a limited-production, barrel selection wine made by HALL in their Platinum Collection. The nose is downright hedonistic in showing Turkish coffee with blueberry compote, dusty terroir, and shades of creosote that all mingle nicely in the glass. This Cabernet shows incredible decadence and a seamless quality that is hard to describe. Mocha, anise, tar, sandalwood, blueberry compote, exotic spices with shades of creme de cassis all strut their stride on this expressive palate. The length, weight and tannins structure of the wine really impresses. Outstanding in its youth, this will deliver downright hedonistic drinking enjoyment for decades. This is about as close to perfection as you can get. Drink 2019-2040- 99
2016 HALL ‘The Bishop’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Named after winemaker Steve Levesque, whose name in French is ‘The Bishop’ this is a simply stunning Cabernet Sauvignon that is absolutely intoxicating in its youth but has a long way to go. You are instantly enticed by the complex aromatics that slowly release blueberry pie with black tea, Asian spices, mocha and tar that all collide in the glass. The wine shows off silky tannins and a voluptuous mouthfeel that dances through the mid-palate. There is a marvelous, seamless character to the wine that really rings true as this glides across the mid-palate. Intense and layered, the palate shows off rich mocha, creme de cassis, anise and Turkish coffee flavors that are woven together with minerals and fine grained tannins. A delight to savor in its youth this stunning new release will cellar well for decades. Drink 2019-2040- 98
2016 HALL ‘Sacrashe Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Sacrashe Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted from a few of the top few barrels of all of the wines sourced from the vineyard. The nose is exceedingly dense, unveiling exotic spices with espresso bean, blackberry compote and shades of tar that all mingle brilliantly in the glass. There is a seamless quality to this wine that really impresses. Velvety tannins line this wine that effortlessly glides across the mid-palate. Deep espresso dusted milk chocolate, creosote, pipe tobacco and shades of black forest cake with sandalwood accents all shine brightly on the palate. The stunningly long finish lingers long on the tongue. Outstanding now, this downright delicious and hedonistic wine will cellar well for decades. Drink 2020-2045- 99