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Posts tagged “Hall wines

Walt Wines Root 101 Tasting: Wines of a Place

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I have never experienced such an interesting wine tasting as the one I’m going to feature in this blog post. For a few years now, we have worked with HALL Wines and attended their events at the winery such as the Annual Cabernet Cookoff Fundraiser and the Kathryn Hall Cabernet Release Parties. We were first introduced to WALT Wines at one of the HALL events (Walt is owned by Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall), and WALT was also at the Pinot on the River event we attended 2 years ago in Healdsburg.

Since then, both WALT Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have been on my list of wines I would recommend if you are a fan of either varietal, but I never got a chance to visit the tasting room or learn more about the wines they make until a few weekends ago when Andy and I were invited to participate in a new food and wine pairing/tasting called Root 101.

Root 101 examines one Chardonnay and five Pinot Noirs by appellation (geographical region where the grapes were grown). These different appellations can inflect various characteristics in the wine, even though it is the same varietal.

Even though the Root 101 tasting focuses on one Chardonnay and five Pinot Noirs, it should be noted that WALT actually makes 12 different Pinot Noirs, 3 Chardonnays, and 1 Rosé of Pinot Noir and sources their grapes from the Sonoma Coast, Los Carneros, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Lucia Highlands, Anderson Valley, and Willamette Valley appellations.

Not only does the Root 101 tasting showcase a variety of distinct single vineyard wines from regional appellations, the experience comes paired with seasonal bites from Sonoma eatery “the girl & the fig.”

Our tasting was led by Chris Brock, a truly knowledgeable host and wine educator. Before coming to work in the WALT tasting room, he had served a number of years as a sommelier. We were lucky to have him to ourselves, because that would allow Andy and I to get super wine nerdy without boring other guests.

First Chris would introduce the food pairings and tell us we were free to nibble on the food and taste the wines throughout his commentary.

walt-appetizers
A. Duck liver mousse crostini with Pinot Noir shallots
B. Comte with roasted beet
C. Hot-smoked salmon with créme fraiche and chives
D. Mushroom flan with smoked Shitake mushrooms
E. Terrine with pistachios
F. Truffled Pecorino

Now that we were familiar with what we would be eating (and warned to avoid the truffled pecorino until the end because of its very strong presence on the palate), we were ready to taste and learn about the wines.

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menu-at-walt

First up was the sole Chardonnay of the Root 101 tasting. The Bob’s Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. It is luscious and full and it is the most expensive of the three Chardonnays available at WALT. The richness of the wine no doubt comes from the sandy and well draining soils that impart stress on the vines. It has just the right balance of oak and fruit. At the tasting I was thrown off a little because this Chardonnay almost stole the show (we were at a primarily Pinot Noir tasting of course) with its floral and fruit and soft vanilla (still a powerful wine) without being all heavy butter and oak.

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The First Pinot Noir of the tasting was the Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir sourced from Anderson Valley. The Savoy was something I would describe as Burgundian––less fruit and more earth and mineral notes present in the wine. The Savoy Vineyard is the northernmost vineyard in California from which WALT sources their Pinot, however, there is also the even further north Shea Vineyard in the Willamette Valley (Oregon), where WALT sources grapes for another Pinot which we did not taste that day. I appreciated the omission, because it seemed more appropriate to taste just WALT‘s Pinot Noirs sourced from California and juxtapose their terroirs to examine how vast their differences can be.

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The second Pinot Noir we tried was the Pinpoint Extreme, also sourced from Alexander Valley, but from The Corners Vineyard. Interestingly, the letters in Pinpoint Extreme can be reorganized to form the words “Pinot Experiment”. A fitting name because this Pinot Noir is a wine that is a deliberate nod to cutting edge winemaking. It is non-formuliac and is guaranteed to be different from vintage to vintage.

And speaking of cutting edge, I wanted to mention the fantastic rebranding I have seen at Walt Wines. I asked about the logo change and our host Chris explaned that the older logos were similar to HALL Wines in color and at first WALT was sort of housed under the HALL label. More recently, WALT has established a name of its own, and therefore the new logo. The logo is a two-colored “W” with the mainly color being a dark blue, and features a different highlight color from bottle to bottle. The highlight color is actually color coded to reflect each vineyard from which the grapes were sourced.

For instance, the Shea Vineyard, Willamette Valley has an olive green highlight. The Anderson Valley wines have a light blue highlight on their “W”. Wines from the Sonoma County Vineyards are highlighted in yellow. Carneros has an orange highlight, and the Central Coast wines have a “W” highlighted in red.

I have been in graphic design for over 15 years, and I am in love with this style of branding, so if I am getting off track in describing the wines, I apologize. I just really like the color coding and think it’s a great learning tool in identifying the differences in appellations.

walt-pinpoint-extreme

Moving on, our next wine to taste was my favorite of all, the Gap’s Crown, from Sonoma Coast. The Gap’s Crown had all my favorite characteristics. Medium to high acidity, jammy, ruby fruit and a tad bit of forest floor. Most of the acidity and fruit-forwardness in the wine comes from the vineyard being stressed during its growth. The fog and strong winds and intermittent bright afternoon sunshine are typical for this part of Sonoma County and the Petaluma Gap, and almost always (in my opinion) make for a Pinot Noir packed with personality.

gaps-crown

Next up was the wine that happened to be Andy’s favorite, the Sierra Mar, sourced from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Sierra Mar translates to “mountain sea” in English, appropos
for an area with an extreme mountain coastal terroir. The Walt Sierra Mar has more of a smoky presence which most likely originates from the granite and gravely soils the vines grow in. The smoke characteristic along with acidity is Andy’s favorite in a Pinot Noir, and it lends itself to be a very good food pairing wine, especially with foods that also smell/taste earthy. I’m talking about beets, mushrooms, and even salmon, for it has the presence of the sea that pairs with the slight salinity in the wine.

We ended up buying a three year vertical of the Sierra Mar, as Chris was gracious to allow us to sample the newest release and included a previous release. I am already looking forward to opening them all at a time, along with enjoying a meal I have created specifically to pair with the wines.

sierra-mar-pinot

We ended our tasting with the WALT Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, sourced from Clos Pepe, a 29-acre vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills near Santa Barbara, because it had the most heft. These are the kinds of Pinot Noirs that are pairable with even richer foods, such as the truffled pecorino we had on our appetizer plate. I would call the Clos Pepe slighly brooding, yet refined. There’s full fruit and minerality present like in the wines before it, it’s just a little more melodramatic.

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Andy and I both truly savored this opportunity to try so many of the Pinot Noirs in WALT‘s library. The Chardonnay was definitely the icing on the cake and we definitely purchased a few bottles of that, too.

Since place is so important in the outcome of a wine (the point of the tasting), here’s an appellation map so you can see the areas I have discussed where Walt sources their grapes.

 

appelation-map

About the winemaker: Megan Gunderson Paredes is the winemaker at both WALT and HALL wines. Megan possesses degrees in both Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and the knowledge of these subjects lend themselves to the scientific aspects of winemaking.

The WALT Tasting Room in Sonoma is open to the public for daily wine tastings from 11 am to 5:30 pm for reservations and information go to WALTWines.com/join-us.

Root 101 is offered daily at 11am & 2pm. The Experience is by reservation only and lasts approximately 60 minutes. It is $60 per person and $40 per person for wine club members. To reserve the Root 101 experience, please call Thrace at (707) 933-4440 ext 3102 or email tbromberger(at)waltwines.com. You can also specifically book a Root 101 tasting by clicking here.

You can use the hashtag #pinotland to tag WALT via social media.

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You can find Walt Wines on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. They are also on Instagram here.

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Over $60,000 Raised for Charity at the 7th Annual HALL Wines Cabernet Cookoff and an Interview with Duff Goldman!

Here’s a little press release (combined with some photos I took that day and some of my comments) on the recent HALL Wines Cabernet Cookoff from my friends at the winery. After that, scroll down to read my interview with Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes and Food Network’s Cake Masters!

On Saturday, April 23rd, over 700 hundred wine and food aficionados helped raise over $60,000 at the sold out 7th Annual Cabernet Cookoff at HALL Wines in St. Helena. Thirteen impressive Napa and Bay Area Restaurants teamed up with a nonprofit of their choice with the goal to create the best dish to pair with 2013 HALL Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Competition was fierce, the wine was inviting, and the weather paired beautifully with this lively philanthropic event.

the scene outside

“Our team is humbled that such talent, both in competing chefs and judges, clear their schedules each April to help us raise money for these noteworthy charities,” says Vintner Kathryn Walt Hall. “Thank you to our generous sponsors and loyal attendees for joining our efforts to make a difference in our community.”

craig and kathryn hall

Five judges, Duff Goldman, Celebrity Chef from Food Network, Leslie Sbrocco, host of “Check Please!” Bay Area, Virginie Boone of Wine Enthusiast, Ian White, SF Magazine, and Ken Frank, Chef at La Toque, took on the impressive task of choosing a runner up and first place winner from dishes like “Cherry Marinated Skirt Steak with Broccolini, Point Reyes Blue, Chive Blossom” or “Black Currant and Rose Macaroon with HALL Cabernet infused Geleé”.

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Mark Dommen from One Market Restaurant in San Francisco took first place with his mouth-watering “Pancetta Wrapped Passmore Ranch Sturgeon Du Puy Lentils, Smoked Garlic, Thyme Jus” benefiting nonprofit Collabria Care of Napa (re-create here). Sorry for the obscene shadow! 😦

pancetta wrapped sturgeon
judges choice collabria care
Ca’Momi placed runner up with a delectable “Heirloom Pork & Veal Agnolotti, Savoy Cabbage, Napa Valley Cabernet Pan Jus and Parmigiano Reggiano” aiding organization Do It For The Love of Napa.

Heirloom Pork & Veal Agnolotti
Judges Choice Runner Up Do it For the Love

Restaurants also had the opportunity to raise money for their charity through People’s Choice, a voting system by corks serving as the tallies. First place for People’s Choice was Napa restaurant, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, preparing “Fried Chicken with Spring Succotash” with the winnings benefiting Napa Humane.

fried chicken
peoples choice napa humane

Paula LeDuc Fine Catering of San Francisco took runner up of People’s Choice with the “HALL Cabernet Roasted Strawberries with White Chocolate Crumble and Mascarpone Cream,” partnering with nonprofit St Helena Hospital.

Peoples Choice Runner Up St Helena Hosp

Proceeds of both ticket sales from attendees and 15% of purchases of 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Coeur Cabernet Sauvignon were also donated to the participating winning charities. Sponsors of the event included at Magnum Level: San Francisco Magazine, Bright Event Rentals, Certified Parking Attendants, MyOffice Products, and Nixon Peabody. At the Harvest Level: Signum Architecture, DP&F, Benefit Marketing, Harvest Sanitation, Snap Fiesta, Napa Valley Tours and Transportation, Print Inkorporated, Frank Zimmerman and Co LLC, and Culligan Water. Bergfeld Sponsorships included Yelp, Alkar Staffing, UpOut.com, Napa Valley Engraving, Tre Posti, Barbier Security Group, The Lux Productions and Villagio Inn & Spa. Local radio station The Vine, 99.3 was on site to capture the excitement, led by personality “Good Morning Bob!”.

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For more information about the event, please visit HALL Wines. To re-create the winning recipe visit HALL’s Recipe section. Check out the exciting sizzle reel courtesy of Flynn Kelleher here or more pictures from the event available here. Next year, the 8th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff will take place on Saturday, April 29, 2017, tickets available now! The event sold out this year, so make sure to reserve your spot for next year.

I had the chance to sample many of the dishes at the event, but my favorite was the Cabernet Braised Short Rib with Cranberry Beans and Horseradish created by Brix on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I make short ribs with a wine sauce at home quite frequently, so this was just a dish I already like to eat. 🙂

short rib
I also had the chance to chat with Duff Goldman, star of several Food Network TV shows such as Cake Masters, Duff Till Dawn, Ace of Cakes, Iron Chef America and Kid’s Baking Championship.

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I asked him a few questions about the event and his latest show on Food Network, Cake Masters, which currently airs Monday evenings on Food Network at 8pm EST.

ME: So, how did you get involved with the HALL Wines Cabernet Cookoff fundraiser?
DUFF: Well, I’m not really sure, uh… you know, I went to school here, uh for culinary school (CIA), and I probably do (appear at) about 3 events in Napa every year and my name is around, I’m a friend of the valley, and this is the place where I became a chef.

ME: So your new show is Cake Masters. Please tell me a little bit about that.
DUFF: It’s a really cool show, it’s a lot like Ace of Cakes, you know, it follows my staff, we make big crazy cakes, uh, but it’s in Los Angeles instead of Baltimore, so we really up the stakes. So now what we do is partner with special effects houses, so these cakes are really just wild.

ME: Yes, I heard about the Fantastic Four cake, and that it was pretty cool.
DUFF: Yes.

ME: So what cake project were you most excited to do?
DUFF: Uh, well we just made a life-size working R2D2.

ME: That’s so awesome, that’s great. So you’re know for cake decorating, but what on the savory side do you like to make/cook?
DUFF: Well, right now I’m writing a book about soup. I’ve got a soup brain right now.
ME: Yes, I’m sure you probably have soup a lot living in Baltimore, especially during winter.
DUFF: We do, and I actually grew up in Cape Cod, so you know it’s a big soup country up there. It’s cold.

ME: I was reading a little bit about you, and found you started out bread making. How did you transition into making cake and not just cakes but cakes that are really works of art?
DUFF: Well, I was a graffiti artist when I was younger, and I started cooking to make enough money to pay for my spray paint. Uh, I got arrested a lot.
ME: Oh!
DUFF: Yeah, so I had to stop doing that. So then I started doing metal sculpture, bronzing, welding making giant things like that bunny out front (Duff is referring to Bunny Foo Foo, the large metal rabbit sculpture in front of HALL wines created by artist Lawrence Argent). And then, I started working on cars since a lot of my friends liked working on cars–and I was a really good welder, and they were like, hey can you come over and fix this thing, it’s like you know asking an artist to come over and paint your house, and I really liked doing it, so that’s how I kind of got into mechanics…I’ve been a working pastry chef my whole career and then I’d say when I was about 25, I was in a band in Baltimore and the band was doing really well, we were starting to get looked at by record labels.
ME: And you’re a bassist?
DUFF: Yeah, so I quit my job and I started selling cakes out of my apartment to try and help pay the rent while I was trying to be a full time musician.

ME: You’ve always had the pastry thing in the background and you were in Colorado for a while?
DUFF: Yeah, I used to carve ice out there.

ME: Well it was really cool to hear a little bit more about your background and I appreciate your time.
DUFF: Absolutely.
ME: My blog is kind of small and out of Sacramento…
DUFF: Well send it (the link) to me, I want to read it.
ME: *faints* (KIDDING!) Oh I will! Totally, totally. Thank you so much!
DUFF: Nice to talk to you.

Well, isn’t that something? 🙂 Truthfully, I just didn’t want to take up much of Duff’s time, so I kept it short. It was really warm that day and we were standing outside in direct sunlight and he was wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt so probably not the most comfortable place to be and get drilled with a bunch of questions from a nervous blogger. And yeah, I was nervous about interviewing Duff, I admit it. The funny thing is, I had met Duff before a few years ago at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco when he was kicking off his line of cake products (pic to prove it below!), and he was super nice and complimented me on my pink chef coat. But then I met Thomas Keller the next year (if you want to call it met) and I tried to ask him a question and he basically dissed me. So, the encounter with Thomas Keller (famous person) made me nervous that the Duff (also a famous person) thing would go awry. And well, I’d say it went alright. I want to thank Duff again for coming out to HALL and for putting up with me for about five minutes. 🙂

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I also want to thank HALL Wines for inviting Andy and me out again. We always have an incredible experience.

Don’t forget to visit www.hallwines.com or follow their social channels on Instagram here, Twitter @hallwines and on Facebook here. CHEERS!!


HALL Cabernet Cookoff Returns for 7th Year!

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We’re excited to be invited back to the HALL Cabernet Cookoff this year. This competition celebrates Bay Area chefs with 100% of ticket sales benefiting Napa Valley charities! Here’s a press release from my friends at HALL with all the details. I hope you can join us this year! 🙂

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NAPA VALLEY, CA – The HALL Cabernet Cookoff will return for its seventh year on Saturday, April 23. The annual event will feature an impressive lineup of both Napa Valley and San Francisco based Chef Teams vying for a chance to win money for a charity of their choice, by participating in a food and wine pairing challenge. 100% of ticket sales benefit Napa Valley non-profit organizations.

“This event is a sampling of Napa Valley lifestyle at its best,” says Vintner Kathryn Hall. “Guests get to enjoy the most delicious bites from Bay Area restaurants while sipping on our Napa Valley Cabernet. Each year, everyone involved with the Cab Cookoff comes out a winner.”

Chef teams involved create seasonal bites that pair well with HALL’s signature Cabernet Sauvignon and present it to an all-star panel of judges who vote for two Judges’ Awards. Chef teams are also judged by guests in attendance who vote for two People’s Choice Awards. All four awards are announced by Kathryn Hall, who presents checks to the winning chef teams and their selected charities, towards the end of the event.

The 2016 panel judges include celebrity Chef Duff Goldman from Food Network’s Ace of Cakes; TV Personality and host of Check Please Bay Area, Leslie Sbrocco; Wine Enthusiast Critic, Virginie Boone; San Francisco Magazine Wine Director, Ian White; and Michelin-rated Chef, Ken Frank of La Toque.

Additionally, KVON’s 99.3 The Vine and on-air personality “Good Morning, Bob,” will be broadcasting live during the event and feature real time interviews with chef teams, guests and non-profit organizations. Participating chef teams include The Grill at Meadowood, One Market, Harvest Table, The Patriot, Feast Catering, SIFT Desserts, Ca’ Momi, Paula Le Duc Fine Catering, Zola, Brix, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, Kara’s Cupcakes, and more.

WHAT: 7th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff; a food and wine paring challenge with 100% of ticket proceeds supporting local charities

WHO: HALL and WALT Wines

WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: HALL St. Helena – The Great Lawn, 401 St. Helena Hwy. S, St. Helena, CA 94574. For more information call (707) 967-2626.

TICKETS: Early Bunny Ticket: $70.00 (pre-sale ticket ends March 31), General Admission Ticket: $80.00 (March 31 – April 23, 2016), VIP Sky Loft: $125.00 (Access to historic Bergfeld Building, single vineyard Cabernets and small bites from HALL’s in-house Chef team) Tickets Available: www.hallwines.com/cabernetcookoff

The 2015 HALL Cabernet Cookoff drew more than 650 food and wine lovers for a sold-out crowd, and raised $59,000 for local charities. Last year’s winning chef teams included PRESS and selected charity, If Given a Chance, Capital Dime and charity, Food Literacy Center, One Market and charity, Napa Valley Hospice Adult Day Services and The Grill at Meadowood and their charity, Community Resource for Children. Since inception in 2011, the HALL Cabernet Cookoff has raised $250,000 for charities in and around the Bay Area.
For more information, please visit www.hallwines.com/cabernetcookoff or via social channels using #cabernetcookoff.


Kathryn Hall Cabernet Release Party Set for September 12th, 2015

Here’s a little press release from my friends at HALL! We can’t wait to attend the Kathryn Hall Cabernet release party in September! You can read about last year’s party here.

kathryn hall pic for party

HALL’s Annual Harvest Party Celebrates Release of 97 pt 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet

HALL St. Helena has announced the date for its annual Kathryn Hall Release Party releasing the 2012 vintage of its flagship Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The event will take place on Saturday, September 12 and will include a unique Vertical Tasting prior to the event hosted by award winning winemaker, Steve Leveque.“2012 is one of the most exciting vintages this Valley has seen in a decade,” says vintner, Kathryn Walt Hall. “We are thrilled with how Steve and his winemaking team have consistently crafted this wine each year, maximizing each vintage to produce the best possible result. This is truly the best fruit Napa has to offer.”Bringing together winemakers, wine-lovers, fans and foodies alike, guests will be invited to enjoy a sun-filled afternoon outdoors to sip on the newly released 2012 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was recently rated 97+ pts by Robert Parker.

In addition to the main event, a rare Vertical Tasting hosted by Steve Leveque will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the historic Bergfeld building. The experience will include a tasting flight of Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon (vintages 2007 – 2012).

Country music entertainment will be provided and guests will be served farm-to-table bites, western style. Additionally, Kathryn Walt Hall will be available during the event to sign bottles. The Kathryn Hall Release Party takes place on The Great Lawn in St. Helena located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains facing HALL’s Bergfeld Estate vineyard.

Think daytime. Think Texas BBQ. Think Kathryn Hall, Y’ALL. It’s going to be the ultimate harvest showdown with 800 friends set on the Great Lawn at HALL.

Ultimate Harvest Party Shindig: It’s Kathryn Hall Y’ALL
2012 Kathryn Hall Release Party

WHEN:
Saturday, September 12, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m (Vertical Tasting hosted by Steve Leveque)
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. PST (Main Event)

WHERE:
HALL St. Helena
401 St. Helena Hwy. South
St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-2626

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/1LiII7v.
Prices for the Main Event are $75 for Early Bunny (purchased before Aug. 17) and $90 thereafter including at the door the day of the party. Ticket price for the Vertical Tasting is $200 and includes admission to the Main Event. For more information, please visit www.hallwines.com or follow their social channels on Twitter @hallwines and on Facebook here.


Kathryn Hall 2011 Cabernet Release Party: My Heaven on Earth!

great lawn
The Cabernet Gods looked upon St. Helena with a smile on their faces last Saturday. It was the setting of the Kathryn Hall Release Party, and the release of the Kathryn Hall 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. The ticketed party was mostly held on the great lawn at HALL Wines, featuring several stations to taste wine and food from Feast Catering.

It was an honor and privilege for Andy and I to be guests of the party and to experience it amongst true Cabernet lovers and fans of Kathryn Hall.

I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland in the Queen’s croquet garden, surrounded by the big red vinyl couches and the delights hidden behind the shrubs on the Great Lawn.

sushi
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a glass of 2013 Hall NV Sauvignon Blanc, and behind the first set of shrubs to the right of the entrance were these tuna and cucumber rolls with finger lime and wasabi in little wooden boats (pictured above). The next station we visited was even better, serving a chilled carrot soup with radish top pistou (pictured below). It was paired with a 2012 Walt “Dutton Ranch” Russian River Chardonnay. The soup was perfect for a very warm and sunny day and its flavor was amplified with a little curry and coconut. I was tempted to have a second. 😉 PS: Dutton Ranch is an excellent place of origin for a Chardonnay. Just google it and you’ll see what I mean. 🙂

carrot soup
Then the Bacon, Duck Fat, and Smoked Sea Salt popcorn happened! Actually, it happened just as Kathryn Hall herself officially announced the release of the 2011 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. Andy and I hustled to the nearest station pouring the newly christened cab to have a taste. AND THEN the fatty popcorn happened. 😉 It was made fresh in a large wok and served in little paper bags. I didn’t want to seem uncouth, so I took a small serving in a paper bag instead of taking the scoop and shoveling the delectable kernels directly into my mouth! 😉 Better than anything I had ever had at the movies!

Well, at least popcorn is gluten free… and for vegetarians, there was another flavor: A habanero, green onion, garlic, and chive concoction. And I think it paired a little better with the new Kathryn Hall Release because the Cabernet is still pretty young and stood up to the heat of the slightly spicy popcorn.

popcorn
We also tried a different Cabernet: a 2011 “T Bar T Ranch” cab from Alexander Valley. I couldn’t say which is my favorite because I liked them for different reasons and asking me to pick a favorite is like asking someone to pick their favorite child, and I know you don’t want to do that to me. 😉

There was a DJ positioned just in front of the great lawn, and he kept patrons happy by playing some current tunes, but also many hits from the 80s. Thanks DJ Adam Bomb, you were great and loved by the crowd. Check out his website and his client list. Pretty impressive! 🙂

DJ adam
Then I visited the grape crushing station and contributed to the 2014 Cabernet. So, that’s a warning to all of you out there. My feet touched some of that juice. 😉 Watch and see! Here’s how you make great wine!


I was having a blast! 🙂 I still pinch myself sometimes because I think I am dreaming. This is the life I saw for myself 10 years ago. I wanted to be in the heart of wine country standing in the sun and sipping some of the best wine in the world!

heaven on earth
Andy stayed out of the juice, and thank goodness…you don’t want to know where that guy’s feet have been. Just kidding. I think he just didn’t want to have sticky feet. 🙂 I am so happy I crushed those grapes. I will always remember how happy I was standing in that barrel! I think the only thing that would make me happier is being a judge at next year’s Cabernet Cookoff (also held at HALL Wines).

Man, all that grape crushing worked up my appetite… (ha, just kidding…) but we were looking for another little snack to try, so we headed into the workshop and dining area. It’s basically a full open kitchen with a dining area where patrons can see demonstrations of food being prepared. Today the culinary team were demonstrating how to make sopes.

inside kitchen
They began by rolling out the dough (masa soaked in lime) into a ball and then flattening it into a disc with a little but of an impression in it. Then, post frying and draining the discs were filled with ancho chili rubbed carnitas with avocado tomatillo salsa, picked red onions & cotija cheese. They were muy delicioso!

sopes
Also in the workshop was a display and check out area where vintage Kathryn Hall Cabernets and large volumes were available for purchase.

bottles of cabernet
The 2011 is available to wine club members in this allotment: 15 bottles (750ml), 1 Magnum (1.5L) and 1 Larger Format (3L or 6L). What an incentive to join the wine club! PS: You get an invite to this amazing release party!

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We did a little bit more walking around the great lawn, and went back to hang out with a new friend we made that day! His name is Spencer and he’s straight out of Louisville, Kentucky! 🙂 Congrats on your position at HALL Wines, and what a great place to be so young in your life. Cheers!

spencer
After we chatted with Spencer, we found Moroccan Lamb Lollipops with Pomegranate sauce! YAY!

lamb meatballs
I had a few of the meatballs, and they were spectacular just everything else I had tasted at the party. But, I had my limits, and was pretty full by this time. Andy and I decided to get one more taste of the new release before we left and we sat down at a table in the sun. This was his heartfelt thank you! 🙂


Along with Andy, I want to thank the PR team and social media folks at HALL Wines for making us feel like VIPs. We both had an incredible time. 🙂

Take a look at the fun other guests had by viewing the social media feed from the party here.

Get social with Kathryn Hall by following HALL Wines on Instagram here, on Facebook here, or on Twitter here.


Kathryn Hall Release Party Set for Sept. 13th, 1-4pm

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The “Kathryn Hall Release Party” date has been set for Saturday, September 13 at HALL Wines in St. Helena where the 2011 HALL ‘Kathryn Hall’ Cabernet Sauvignon will be released for a crowd filled with wine lovers, foodies, fans, members and tourists alike. The party will take place on the newly designed Great Lawn from 1pm – 4pm PST.

I have been to another event at HALL Wines, their Cabernet Cookoff, which took place in May this year, and I can tell you that they know how to throw a party, and the grounds at HALL are just beautiful.

The Release Party with feature great music from DJ Adam Jobe, farm to table seasonal fare from Feast Catering and a clutch of wine lovers, foodies and fans coming together to celebrate HALL’s winemaking excellence.

It’s HALL’s largest annual event of the year and they are setting the bar high! Get your daytime sip, stroll, and lounge on at HALL, St. Helena.

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Schedule:
Vertical Tasting & Kathryn Hall Release Party
12-1PM: Vertical Tasting of 2008–2013 Kathryn Hall lead by Director of Wine Making Steve Leveque

Kathryn Hall Release Party
1-4PM: Kathryn Hall Release Party including plentiful food and artisan wines, DJ and dancing, photo booth, and special signing and photo opp with Kathryn herself.
As an added bonus: Kathryn will be available for a photo opp with you, and will be signing all bottle purchases of “Kathryn Hall” that day.

Tickets are $200 per person for the Vertical Tasting & Release Party: BUY TICKETS HERE, and $90 per person for the Release Party only: BUY TICKETS HERE

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HALL Wines is located at 401 St. Helena Hwy S, St Helena CA.
You can find HALL Wines on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here and on Instagram here.


Wine Wednesday: 5th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff Takes Place Sunday, May 18, 2014

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Oops. So I haven’t posted anything since last Wednesday, which was also Wine Wednesday. Well, this one comes from my friends at HALL Wines. Their 5th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff is on Sunday, May 18th, and here’s a press release I received to tell you all about it:

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The fifth annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff features an all-star line-up of both San Francisco and Napa Valley based Chef teams vying to win a culinary pairing challenge. Bringing together local foodies and wine for a good cause, over 15 chef teams will compete for a local charity as judged by industry judges (including Sacramento’s own food and wine writer Chris Macias) by creating small bite dishes paired with the recently released HALL 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. During the event, guests will be invited to taste farm-to-table dishes from each chef team paired with the wine and vote on their favorite for the People’s Choice Award.

The 2013 HALL Cabernet Cookoff drew more than 480 culinary and wine lovers and raised $30,000 for the top four winning team’s sponsored charities.

5th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff combining a bevy of well-known culinary teams competing in a food/wine pairing challenge. Chef teams participating in the HALL Cabernet Cookoff include:

  • Tyler Rodde, Oenotri
  • Victoria Acosta, The Grill at Meadowood
  • Rodney Worth & Audrey Perrone, The Pear Bistro
  • Corrie Beezley, The Farmers Market Pantry
  • Christopher Ludwick, Earth’s Bounty Kitchen & Winebar
  • Valentina Migotto & Dario De Conti, Ca’ Momi
  • Jesse McQuarrie, Feast Catering
  • Brian Overhauser, Jamieson Ranch
  • Jason Toji & Spencer Weiss, Press
  • Will Wright, Bounty Hunter Smokin BBQ
  • Nenad Stefanovic, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
  • Kara Lind, Kara’s Cupcakes
  • Mark Dommen, One Market Restaurant
  • Alex Marsh, Yankee Pier Larkspur
  • Daniel Capra, Paula Le Duc Catering

WHEN:  Sunday, May 18, 2014, from 11:00am – 2:00pm PST                                   

WHERE: HALL Wines, St. Helena: 401 St. Helena Hwy. South St. Helena, CA 94574. For more information, please visit www.hallwines.com/cabernetcookoff or via social channels using #cabernetcookoff. To purchase tickets to the event, please visit CellarPass.