William Hill Estate Winery: Modern Mastery of Napa Classics Like a Fetching 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay

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2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay

William Hill Estate is renowned for crafting elegant Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot wines due to its exceptional location between Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail and Atlas Peak Road on the prestigious Silverado Bench.  Once classic in style, contemporary winemaker Ralf Holdenried has successfully transitioned our wines to a more refined and sophisticated style with fruit intensity and layers of complexity.  Ralf’s innovative and progressive approach to grape growing and winemaking enhances the unique style of our Napa Valley wines. 

The  2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay reflects a transition to a new contemporary style. The wine reveals elegant ripe tree fruit flavors and some toasty oak, brown spice and butter. The wine has a moderate mouthfeel and sweetness backed up by refined acidity. Impressive is the word for this smooth, beautifully balanced and refined wine.

Those of us ISO a Chardonnay to sip with dinner and find many California winemakers have lost contact with the grape and the game of dining, need look no further than William Hill Estate Winery. Loved it with chicken pot pie, steamed lobster, steak tartar,subtle cheeses and, of course, almonds. At a suggested retail price of $25, we can all go there. Bravo William Hill!

Viticulture Notes:

Spring of 2009 was warm and dry with an early bud break.  We had a moderate growing season causing slow ripening which led to the development of full flavors.   Although harvest was slow to start in the Napa Valley, warmer temperatures in August accelerated the last days of the maturation process.        

Winemaker Notes:

The Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested, and gently pressed as whole clusters. After the juice settled overnight, it was racked, and inoculated, and fermented in a combination of new and used oak barrels at approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. All wine lots underwent malolactic fermentation. Aging occurred in a combination of new and used oak. Some of the wine was racked off the lees after primary fermentation, while other lots were allowed lees contact during aging. Final blending occurred after the individual evaluation of each wine lot.

Varietal Origin: Napa Valley

Varietal Content: 100% Chardonnay

Alcohol Level: 14.75%

Titratable Acidity: 0.48 g/100ml

Residual Sugar: 0.67 g/100ml

pH: 3.58


Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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Ingenuity and Artistry Converge at William Hill

clip_image004[4]Tucked away in the rolling hills of Napa Valley, along the Silverado Trail, lies an undiscovered stretch of picturesque benchland vineyard. William Hill Estate Winery sits at the center of this vineyard – in the heart of the Silverado Bench – crafting contemporary, sophisticated wines that tell the story of a very different kind of Napa Valley.

A Napa Valley that is off the beaten path. A Napa Valley where wine connoisseurs get an intimate wine tasting experience along the Silverado Trail.

In 1978, visionary vineyard developer William Hill saw the incredible potential of the Silverado Bench, where he built his namesake winery. Three decades later, William Hill winemaker Ralf Holdenried is making modern wines that speak to the unique terroir of this virtually unknown area of southern Napa Valley.

A Unique Estate Vineyard

A confluence of characteristics makes William Hill’s 140-acre estate an ideal vineyard. Set on a benchland – off the valley floor, but below the steeper slopes of the hills – with a southwestern exposure, the vineyard basks in abundant sunlight. Vineyards in Southern Napa are typically cooler, but the sun exposure on the Silverado Bench makes William Hill a notable exception.

The vineyard is close to the valley floor climatically, but the volcanic soil and the size and vigor of the vines means William Hill is more like a mountaintop vineyard. These elements translate to fruit-driven, expressive red Bordeaux varietals with elegant tannin structure.

Significant variation in aspect, drainage and sun exposure – even from row to row – has prompted winemaker Ralf Holdenried to carve out specific vineyard blocks, some as small as one-tenth of an acre. The grapes from each block are picked at their optimal ripeness and fermented separately, allowing Ralf to bring the full expression of the vineyard into the bottle. The result is a range of concentrated, balanced blends with multi-dimensional layers.

A Contemporary Winery

It is no coincidence that William Hill Estate Winery was designed with the winemaker in mind. The vineyard is just outside the winery door, giving Ralf the freedom to be involved in every aspect of the winemaking process. “During harvest, I want to be out in the vineyard where all the flavors are developing, but I also want to be in the winery for the next steps,” says Ralf. “At William Hill, I have the great luxury of seeing what we’ve picked in a given day and then tasting from the fermentation tanks, almost instantaneously.”

Ingenuity converges with artistry at William Hill, a midsize artisanal winery. Designed for optimal flexibility, the winery supports Ralf’s approach of carving out vineyard blocks and letting their flavors develop individually. “The number of tanks and barrels we have in relation to the grapes on the land means I can make decisions about blending once the individual lots have had a chance to show their true potential,” explains Ralf. “This winery facilitates an artistic influence over the wine.”

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