William Hill® Estate 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Nestled near the Silverado Trail, just minutes from some of the world’s most renowned vineyards, William Hill Estate crafts luxury Chardonnay and red Bordeaux varietals with rich, expressive flavors. Winemaker Ralf Holdenried makes William Hill’s extraordinary collection of elegant wines to showcase the other side of Napa – the side that is off the beaten path.
The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon offers aromas and flavors of bright red fruit, with hints of blueberry and red cherry. Undertones of brown spice and sweet vanilla create a plush mouthfeel of soft tannins that evolve into an extraordinary finish.
We were amazed by the extraordinary balance, depth and elegance of this wine. While it is delicious now, lay it away for a year or two and it will be worth the wait.
William His is quickly becoming one of our favorites in the affordable California arena. And they get the fruit right. It’s there, but it doesn’t scream at you.
The Napa Valley AVA is renowned for its long growing season, marked by warm, sunny days and cool evenings. These growing conditions are ideal for allowing grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. The 2008 growing season began dry and cool, leading up to an early frost that affected some vineyards during budbreak, reducing yields. The weather remained fairly mild through the summer, though some heat spikes occurred before harvest. Ultimately, the weather settled, allowing us to harvest each varietal at its optimal ripeness. Because yields were quite low compared to previous vintages, the harvest produced exceptional quality fruit, with great complexity and concentration.
The grapes for this wine were hand-picked from the premier vineyards in the Napa Valley. The grapes were cold soaked for three to five days to enhance color and flavor. After they were destemmed and crushed, the grapes were fermented in upright, closed top fermentors at a maximum temperature of 85°F. The wine remained in contact with the skins for approximately 18 days before undergoing malolactic fermentation to soften the mouthfeel.
Varietal Origin: Napa Valley
Varietal Content: 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot,
4% Cabernet Franc, 5% Other
Titratable Acidity: 0.68 g/100ml
Residual Sugar: 0.25 g/100ml
Terrific. We loved it!
Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.
At Home on the Silverado Bench: Winemaker Ralf Holdenried
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. “the 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.
Modern Mastery of Napa Classics
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.
The 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.
Winemaker, Ralf Holdenried, takes full advantage of the exceptional location, using the finest grapes from specific vineyard blocks on the 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.”
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
The 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
The estate vineyard provides an ideal combination of soil, climate and sun exposure to yield exceptional wines from other classic red Bordeaux varietals. At the Napa Valley Tasting Room, they offer the signature Meritage blend, along with limited-production Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.