William Hill Estate Winery: Blending the Best Vineyard Lots from Napa Valley

clip_image002

Blending the Best Vineyard Lots from Napa Valley

william hill BrandImage-Family_Shot_WHE_-_New The best wines are crafted by winemakers who are intimately connected to their wines. Winemakers who are close to the vineyard, who select their grapes by hand at the perfect moment of ripeness. Winemakers who taste their barrel selections and blend the individual lots together to create an exquisitely balanced wine.

This is how wine is made at William Hill Estate Winery.

Our best wines, our collection of Bench Blend and Meritage wines, embody the quintessential characteristics of Napa Valley: lush, expressive fruit. “These wines are a testament to the extraordinary vineyards of southern Napa,” says winemaker Ralf Holdenried.

Bench Blends

A complement to our range of acclaimed Napa Valley wines, our Bench Blends are soft, elegant and beautifully integrated. They meld grapes from hand selected vineyard blocks that deliver intense flavor characteristics.

Chardonnay

To craft our Bench Blend Chardonnay, Ralf selects the grapes from specific lots on a handful of vineyards in Southern Napa. He chooses vines with stressed soils and lower yields to showcase the incredible flavor concentration of Chardonnay from this region. The result is a complex, creamy wine with intense ripe fruit aromas and flavors. “We look for balanced vines that will ripen consistently and give us a refined, elegant character in our Bench Blend Chardonnay,” explains Ralf.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Our Bench Blend Cabernet Sauvignon is an intense, expressive wine with opulent aromas and a plush mouthfeel. An artful interpretation of our home vineyard, this Cabernet comes from the best vineyard blocks on our Silverado Bench estate. “Our Bench Blend Cabernet is the boldest expression of the William Hill property,” says Ralf. “We pick one or two of the best vineyard blocks to make a Cabernet that really speaks to the unique characteristics of this special place.”

Meritage

William Hill Meritage is the culmination of our extraordinary estate vineyard. Ralf carves out the best vineyard blocks for each red Bordeaux varietal – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot – and harvests each varietal at its optimal ripeness. “By fermenting each varietal separately, we can express them individually and evaluate their contributions to the final wine before blending,” explains Ralf.

The result is a multi-dimensional blend with integrated layers of rich flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon gives the wine a framework of soft tannins and chocolate spice notes. Merlot contributes a refined character to the blend, offering lighter tannins and raspberry jam flavors. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Petit Verdot is a bolder component, with more tannins and a rich, dark color. Cabernet Franc adds a green, herbal character to the wine, while Malbec offers delicate flavors to soften the palate.

Technorati Tags: ,

clip_image002[4]

Modern Mastery of Napa Classics

clip_image004[4]Winemaking takes a decidedly modern approach at William Hill Estate Winery, where a young winemaker is reinterpreting Napa Valley’s classics and proving that the virtually undiscovered Silverado Bench can produce an impressive range of sophisticated, contemporary wines.

Our 140-acre wine estate, tucked away in the rolling hills of southern Napa Valley, is the perfect place to craft fruit-driven Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. And the world-renowned cool-climate Chardonnay vineyards that dot the Silverado Trail are just down the road from William Hill.

Our winemaker, Ralf Holdenried, takes full advantage of our exceptional location, using the finest grapes from specific vineyard blocks on our estate property and in nearby vineyards. He ferments each lot separately, before assembling his elegant, balanced blends. The result is a collection of expressive Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varietal wines that speak to the unique terroir of each vineyard.

"I want to open people’s eyes to what makes the Silverado Bench and this area of Napa so unique,” explains Ralf. “I think each glass of William Hill shows the world a different kind of Napa Valley.”

Chardonnay

Some of the world’s finest Chardonnay vineyards lie just minutes from William Hill. Ralf hand-selects rich, ripe fruit from distinctive vineyard blocks in Carneros and other acclaimed regions of Napa to create an expressive blend with great depth, layers of nuance and a balanced acidity.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Our estate vineyard is home to superior Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. 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. This translates into fruit-driven red wines with well-structured, elegant tannins.

Other Red Bordeaux Varietals

Our estate vineyard provides an ideal combination of soil, climate and sun exposure to yield exceptional wines from other classic red Bordeaux varietals. At our Napa Valley Tasting Room, we offer our signature Meritage blend, along with limited-production Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

___________________________________________________________

clip_image002[6]

Ingenuity and Artistry Converge at William Hill

clip_image004[6]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.”

_______________________________________________________________

clip_image002[8]

At Home on the Silverado Bench: Winemaker Ralf Holdenried

clip_image004[8] A winemaker can spend a lifetime searching for the perfect vineyard. In Ralf Holdenried’s case, the vineyard found him.

With an eclectic mix of winemaking experience that spans two continents, Ralf is right at home at William Hill’s benchland estate along the Silverado Trail in southern Napa Valley. From childhood chores on his family’s vineyard in Germany to crafting small lot wines in Napa Valley, Ralf is perfectly poised to bring his wines from the Silverado Bench onto the world stage.

Building on a Winemaking Heritage

Growing up on his family’s vineyard in Reinhessen, Germany, Ralf gained a profound appreciation for cultivating the land. “Winemaking was part of my everyday life,” Ralf explains. “My upbringing helped me understand the importance of the vineyard in the finished wine.”

After an internship at a boutique winery in Germany, Ralf realized that winemaking was more than just a family duty: “Going through crush there – seeing the dynamics in the cellar, working with the grapes and the land, melding equipment and technology to create something that people care about and enjoy – that really inspired me to pursue wine as a career.”

Ralf studied winemaking and viticulture at Germany’s prestigious University of Geisenheim and worked at several wineries in Reinhessen and Nahe, gaining exposure to the full spectrum of winemaking techniques.

Discovering Napa Valley

Ralf later studied fermentation science, viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis, where he became fascinated with California’s wine culture. “California offers the freedom to move beyond some of the traditional laws of Old World winemaking,” Ralf explains. “Here, I have the flexibility to go in new directions without being confined by conventional customs.”

Ralf joined E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Sonoma County winemaking team in 1998. He earned his MBA at UC Davis and later became winemaking director of Louis M. Martini’s small lot wines. “At Martini’s artisan winery, Cellar 254, I had the incredible opportunity to work with grapes from some of California’s most coveted sites,” says Ralf. “I was involved in the artistry of winemaking in a very hands-on way.”

Finding a Home at William Hill

Today, Ralf applies his breadth of experience to crafting William Hill’s sophisticated, contemporary wines from the Silverado Bench. “We have only begun to tap into the enormous potential of this region,” says Ralf. “Our 140-acre estate vineyard epitomizes the Silverado Bench –concentrated, flavorful grapes that make soft wines. I hope to express the quality of this region with every vintage.”

This incredible vineyard, tucked away in the hills of Napa Valley, has found itself the ideal winemaker.

____________________________________________________________________image

Pricing:

2007 William Hill Estate Chardonnay, Napa Valley $ 25.00

2006 William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $ 30.00

2007 William Hill Estate Merlot, Napa Valley $ 28.00

2007 William Hill Estate Bench Blend Chardonnay $ 35.00

2006 William Hill Estate Bench Blend Cabernet Sauvignon $ 40.00

____________________________________________________________________

Hill Estate 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

William Hill Estate is renowned for crafting elegant Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot wines due to its exceptional location just off the Silverado Trail in Southern Napa on the Silverado Bench. Once classic in style, 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. 

Wine Tasting Notes

Our 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon shows concentrated red and dark berry aromas with hints of raspberry, dark cherry, blackberry, and blueberry. These aromas extend to the palate along with notes of jam with dark olive, sweet vanilla, and dark chocolate. The integrated tannins and concentrated flavors of this wine continue into an intense, lush red berry and dark chocolate finish.

Viticulture Notes

The Napa Valley Viticultural Area is renowned for its long growing season marked by sunny, warm and dry days and followed by cool evenings. These growing conditions are ideal for allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. Despite inclement weather conditions, the 2006 harvest was marked as an exceptional vintage. Winter began with extreme rainfall causing flooding in much of Napa Valley. The rain continued into early spring and the cool, wet weather delayed bud break by a few weeks. However, the sun came out in early June allowing the vines to bloom and set fruit. A 10 day streak of record heat in July helped catch the vines up to a “normal” place in the growing season. The return of cooler weather in fall allowed for moderately paced and deliberate ripening which was ideal for developing premium grapes with good complexity, acid and flavor.

Winemaking Notes

The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were hand harvested from October 15th to November 1st and were destemmed and crushed prior to fermentation in upright, closed top fermentors. The must fermented at a maximum temperature of 85°F and received 30 days of skin contact. Following pressing, malolactic fermentation on skins was completed in tank. Final evaluation and blending of the individual lots occurred just prior to bottling.

Varietal Origin: Napa Valley

Titratable Acidity: 0.56 g/100ml

pH: 3.74

Residual Sugar: 0.25 g/100ml

Alcohol Level: 14.73%

Harvest Dates: October 15th – November 1st

Barrel Regime: 17 months in new and used oak barrels

Bottling Date: March 2009

Release Date: September 2009

SRP: $28

 

____________________________________________________________________

2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay

William Hill Estate is renowned for crafting elegant Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot wines due to its exceptional location just off the Silverado Trail in Southern Napa on the Silverado Bench. Once classic in style, 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. 

Wine Tasting Notes

Our 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay reveals elegant aromas of creamy vanilla, honeysuckle and ripe fruit of white peach and pear. This wine is full bodied and rich with refined acidity that is maintained through the intense fruit and vanilla focused finish.

Viticulture Notes

A dry winter and warm, dry spring initiated an early start to the 2007 growing season. The weather remained fairly mild through the harvest months with the only heat spike occurring in early September. Temperatures cooled throughout the remainder of September which slowed the ripening of certain varietals and set a good pace for the rest of harvest. This allowed winemakers to focus on bringing in and crushing one variety at a time. Many wineries waited until the very end of harvest to pick some of the later-ripening varieties, and were rewarded with a very high quality crop. Overall, the 2007 crop was much smaller and produced lower alcohol levels in the wines than in 2005 and 2006, but quality is exceptional.

Winemaker Notes

The Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested at night between August 22nd and October 6th. The grapes were gently pressed as whole clusters and after the juice settled overnight, it was racked, inoculated with yeast to initiate primary fermentation. Afterward, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged in French and American oak barrels on lees. The final blend was crafted after each lot was evaluated individually.

Varietal Origin: Napa Valley

Titratable Acidity: 0.53 g/100ml

pH: 3.49

Residual Sugar: 0.66 g/100ml

Alcohol Level: 13.44%

Harvest Dates: August 22nd – October 6th

Barrel Regime: Aged in French and American oak barrels

Bottling Date: April 2009

Release Date: September 2009

____________________________________________________________________

2007 Napa Valley Merlot

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.

Wine Tasting Notes

Our 2007 Napa Valley Merlot reveals a combination of red berry fruit aromas of plum, ripe red cherry, raspberry, and soft spice. The intense aromas continue on the palate along with hints of chocolate and blueberry that meld into a plush, velvety finish.

Viticulture Notes

The Napa Valley Viticultural Area is renowned for its long growing season marked by sunny, warm and dry days and followed by cool evenings. These growing conditions are ideal for allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. A dry winter and warm, dry spring initiated an early start to the 2007 growing season. The weather remained fairly mild through the harvest months with the only heat spike occurring in early September. Temperatures cooled throughout the remainder of September which slowed the ripening of certain varietals and set a good pace for the rest of harvest. This allowed winemakers to focus on bringing in and crushing one variety at a time. Many wineries waited until the very end of harvest to pick some of the later-ripening varieties, and were rewarded with a very high quality crop. Overall, the 2007 crop was much smaller and produced lower alcohol levels in the wines than in 2005 and 2006, but quality is exceptional.

Winemaking Notes

Our 2007 Napa Merlot is blended from grapes chosen from reputable vineyards throughout Napa Valley. The variety of grape sources allowed for a range of flavor components, making the wine layered and multidimensional. Once the grapes arrived at the winery during the harvest months, they were destemmed and crushed. The grapes were cold soaked for 3-5 days, and then underwent primary fermentation in upright fermentors at temperatures not exceeding 85°F. After primary fermentation, the Merlot wine completed malolactic fermentation and was racked and filtered prior to bottling. The wine spent 21 months in a combination of new and used French oak barrels.

Varietal Origin: Napa Valley

Varietal Content: 87% Merlot, 6% Dornfelder, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon

Titratable Acidity: 0.57 g/100ml

pH: 3.62

Residual Sugar: 0.21 g/100ml

Alcohol Level: 14.33%

_____________________________________________________________________

William Hill Estate : Napa Valley William Hill Estate : Napa Valley

 

2007 Bench Blend Chardonnay

2007 Bench Blend Chardonnay

Varietal Origin: Napa Valley: 100% Weimer Clone from Carneros
Titratable Acidity: 0.56 g/100ml
pH: 3.35
Residual Sugar: 0.55 g/100ml
Alcohol Level: 14.2%
Harvest Dates: September 12, 2008

Wine Tasting Notes

Our 2007 Reserve Chardonnay is creamy and complex displaying intense fruit aromas and flavors of white peach and ripe pear. The stone fruit combine with toasty oak, vanilla and coconut notes that extend through the rich, lingering finish.

Viticulture Notes

A dry winter and warm, dry spring initiated an early start to the 2007 growing season. The weather remained fairly mild through the harvest months with the only heat spike occurring in early September. Temperatures cooled throughout the remainder of September which slowed the ripening of certain varietals and set a good pace for the rest of harvest. This allowed winemakers to focus on bringing in and crushing one variety at a time. Many wineries waited until the very end of harvest to pick some of the later-ripening varieties, and were rewarded with a very high quality crop. Overall, the 2007 crop was much smaller and produced lower alcohol levels in the wines than in 2005 and 2006, but quality is exceptional.

Winemaker Notes

The Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested at night and then gently pressed as whole clusters prior to fermentation to maintain varietal aromas and flavors. The must was inoculated with the QA 23 yeast strain to initiate primary fermentation. Grape solids were left in the fermenting juice to add complexity and style. After primary fermentation was complete, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel in order to enrich the mouthfeel and further add complexity to the finished wine. The Chardonnay wine was aged in new and one-year old French oak barrels. The wine was filtered and fined and bottle aged 6 months prior to release.

_____________________________________________________________________

2006 Bench Blend Cabernet Sauvignon

Varietal Origin: Napa Valley
Titratable Acidity: 0.57 g/100ml
pH: 3.68
Residual Sugar: 0.08 g/100ml
Alcohol Level: 14.9%
Barrel Regime: Aged in French and American oak barrels
Bottling Date: January 2008
Release Date: February 2009
Case Production: 1,100 cases

Wine Tasting Notes

Our 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon shows intense black and blue fruit aromas and flavors with layers of licorice cherry and spice. The intense fruit and elegant tannins evolve into a long, impressive finish. This wine has the fruit intensity and structure to improve through years of aging, although its ripeness and approachability make it rewarding to enjoy now.

Viticulture Notes

The winter months throughout early 2005 saw a lot of rain but the weather was fairly dry throughout the month March. Precipitation began again in April and continued into June. Due to the slightly cooler spring weather, bud break came a bit later than previous years. The cooler weather throughout the summer months permitted longer hang time which allowed for the development of intricate aromas and flavors. Autumn eventually brought sunshine and heat which ripened the grapes quickly, allowing harvest to finally begin in mid-September. Though it was a later harvest in 2005, the vines produced ripe, flavorful clusters of exceptional quality.

Winemaking Notes

Our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were destemmed, crushed, and cold soaked for 3-5 days to allow for maximum extraction of color and flavor prior to fermentation. The must was then inoculated with the BDX yeast strain and was fermented at temperatures not exceeding 90°F. Following primary fermentation, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in tank. The wine was then aged in French and American oak barrels prior to release

Advertisements