Value Alert: Hall Napa Valley Cabernet

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When impressive ratings rained from the sky for Hall Winery's 2006 higher-end Cabs (priced between $75-$150) the natural question to ask was whether their entry-level Napa Valley designated wines would deliver similar excitement at a more affordable price point.

In an effort to answer that question, I sought out a bottle of the 2005 Hall Napa Cab to get a feel for the wine.  The short answer is that yes- their entry-level Cab is very good.  But in my opinion it's a noticeable notch below the pricier wines.

There's been a considerable amount of excitement brewing for the 2006 Hall Napa Cab ever since Wine Spectator dropped a 94 point rating on it.  At $40 this presents a compelling value in Napa Cab- especially given its 18,500 case production level which should make it relatively easy to find.

Strangely, I didn't see a lot of the 2005 vintage of this wine in Massachusetts.  And although Spectator only rated the 2005 86 points I thought it would be good to try it to approximate the style of wine the 2006 might offer.

The wine is released relatively late compared to contemporary conventions for release times of Napa Cabs.  The 2006 is just coming to market (in April 2010 as of this writing when most 2007s are coming to market).  The wine spends18 Months in 100% French Oak, 55% of which is new.  Here are my notes on the 2005:

2005 Hall Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
14.5% Alcohol

Displays markings typical of nice Napa Cab: Fruit forward with some savory components backing up.  In this case, primarily dark plums backed up with some bay leaf.  Full bodied and delicious but I'd call it "plump"- round and juicy with very soft tannins.  I wouldn't mind more "bite" in a wine this age but it's an enjoyable powerful wine at this point in time.

WWP 89 Points/Very Good

Guidance: Wait for the 2006 to come to market and buy a couple bottles especially if you an find it in the low $30s.

Honestly, one thing I think creates confusion around this brand is the number of wines in the market that contain the word "Hall".  Robert Hall, Patz & Hall, Whitehall Lane, etc etc.  Have a look at this Wine-Searcher link to see what I'm talking about, it's confusing!

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Futher Reading:
Question of the Day: Have you tried the Hall Napa Valley Cab recently?  If so what did you think and where did you buy it?


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