HALL Wines: Two Artistic Napa Valley Cabernets

We continued talking wine education with PROTOCOL wine studio, and several of their guests, while sipping two delicious HALL Wines on a recent Tuesday evening. PROTOCOL wine studio provides wine education via Twitter on Tuesday evenings (search #WineStudio on Twitter) and in their classroom in San Diego.

HALL Cabernets
HALL Wines’ Artistic Labels

Guests on this recent Tuesday evening included San Francisco Wine School instructor Fred Swan, and Thea Dwell who is a wine/travel blogger and student of the San Francisco Wine School.

After several evenings discussing wine education in general, this evening we talked about wine education that is a bit more focused by region. San Francisco Wine School offers classes specializing in California wine appellations (California Wine Appellation Specialist® CWAS). The curriculum is constantly updated to reflect changes to American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). This program is a natural for anyone working in the California wine market and offers an in depth look at all of California’s AVAs.

If your interest is in learning more about the wines of France, consider the French Wine Scholar (FWS) program. You will have a chance to dive into the better know regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. In addition, you will learn about other French regions like Provence and Alsace.

For serious fans of Italian wines there is the Italian Wine Professional (IWP) Program. It is possible with both of these programs to take individual classes, or complete the entire program, sit for the exam and become certified. Take your pick depending what your goals are.

Online versions of these classes are available as well. Because tasting the wines of a region is a large part of learning about that region the school also provides distance learners with a list of wines to reinforce your learning. Wine homework!

As we talked wine education, we were joined by Jeff Dreyfuss, Visitor Center Associate Manager with HALL Wines. Jeff provided us with background information on HALL Wines and the two Cabernets that were provided to us as tasting samples.

The focus of HALL Wines is the Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. With wineries and tasting rooms in St. Helena and Rutherford, and vineyards located throughout the Napa Valley and beyond, winery owners Craig and Kathryn Hall are well situated to fulfill this goal. Not only that, vineyards are farmed organically (certified too)  and their St. Helena winery is the first in California to earn LEED Gold Certification™. Both are noteworthy accomplishments.

2011 HALL Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet2011 HALL Jack’s Masterpiece Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignondark ruby in the glass with aromas that are quintessentially Cabernet to me, a combination of red fruit, black tea and earth. Complex red and dark fruit flavors combine with leathery, earthy flavors. A bit of vanilla lingers with smooth tannins and fruit flavors. Tannins are well integrated into the flavors and the finish is medium to long. ABV 14.9%

2011 was a cooler vintage in Napa, and this very elegant Cabernet is a delicious example of the vintage. 4% Petit Verdot was blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon. I enjoyed sipping the Jack’s Masterpiece on its own, and it paired nicely with our dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce. The sauce was cooked slowly over four hours; such a nice combination.

The name of this wine, Jack’s Masterpiece, refers to the artwork that decorates the label. It was created by Jack, the son of former HALL winemaker and current winery President Mike Reynolds. Jack created the painting for his father when he was only 18 months of age. Every year Mike steps back into the cellar to create this signature blend and he chose this very special painting to appear on the label.

2012 HALL Eighteen Seventy-Three Cabernet2012 HALL Eighteen Seventy-Three Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon inky dark violet-ruby in the glass with aromas of dark fruit and hints of licorice. Generous dark fruit flavors, chocolate and earth combine with slightly grippy tannins. This wine is medium bodied and has a moderately long finish with both flavor and tannins. ABV 15.4%

This wine is big, chewy and complex with bigger aromas and flavors and more tannins. It is delicious now, and has great aging potential as well. The obvious pairing for me is a grilled ribeye. Fat. Meat. Smoke. Delicious. Just a splash of Merlot (3%) was blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Eighteen Seventy-Three, is a nod to the historical significance of the St. Helena property. In that year, Captain William Peterson established one of the early Napa Valley wineries on the property.

Aging of HALL wines takes place in all French oak, from a variety of coopers and typically in at least 50% new oak. Barrel aging lasts from 16 to 22 months, with 6 to 12 months of bottle aging before release.

Talking wine while drinking wine — well, that really is a pairing that’s hard to beat. Thanks to PROTOCOL wine studio and especially to HALL Wines for the opportunity to taste these two special Cabs. After tasting them, I have to say the art is in the bottle as well as on the bottle. Well done.



  1. I love those labels and I’ve always enjoyed a Hall Cabernet each time I’ve had a chance to try one. I just purchased a few of the 2012s and I’m looking forward to tasting them soon.

    • Oh, lucky you! I’m now in the mood to visit the St. Helena winery to taste more of their delicious wines and enjoy the art. I also appreciate that the vineyards are certified organic. What’s not to love? Cheers Zach.