HALL WALT Collage

In a post earlier this month, I wrote about my stay at SENZA Hotel, while covering Festival Napa ValleySENZA Hotel is owned by Vintners Craig and Kathryn Hall, who also own the internationally known HALL Wines in St. Helena and WALT Wines in Sonoma.

Kathryn Walt Hall and her family have been growing grapes in Mendocino since 1972. In 1995, she and her husband, Craig, bought their first vineyard in Napa Valley and have produced premium cabernet sauvignon under their HALL label ever since. Four years ago, the Halls began producing pinot noirs from vineyards along the west coast under their WALT label.

During my stay at SENZA Hotel, I had the opportunity to experience the HALLmark tour at HALL Wines. Today I want to share some highlights from the tour and also tell you about my tasting experience at WALT Wines earlier this summer.

Bill and I arrived at HALL Wines for our scheduled tour. Once our group was assembled we were given a glass of HALL Sauvignon Blanc and our tour began. Our tour guide and HALL Wine Educator, Amanda, started by telling us about the Hall’s love for contemporary art.

We paused by Camel (Albino) Contemplating Needle, a sculpture by John Baldessari, which stands near the entrance to the tasting room. As I mentioned in my SENZA Hotel post, Kathryn and Craig Hall have a vast contemporary art collection. There are 35 works of art at the HALL Wines property alone!

Hall Wines Napa Valley

Standing prominently on the HALL property is the the Bergfeld Building, built in 1885. It is named after Robert Bergfeld who hailed from one of the first winemaking families in Napa Valley. Kathryn and Craig Hall had the structure restored in 2006 and it was completed and ready for use in 2013. Now it is used for special events and private tastings.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

Throughout the 33-acre property, which sits at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, there are gardens, many works of art and plenty of places to relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the sunshine.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

Hall Wine Napa Valley

And there are vineyards too, of course. Amanda showed us the grapes which were just starting to change colors, a stage known as verasion, in the Bergfeld Vineyard.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

One of the most stunning parts of the property, in my opinion, is this seating area. Several Adirondack chairs, shaded by the sun with white umbrellas, face a long rectangular fountain. So peaceful and relaxing. I would have been happy sitting there for an hour or so but we had places to go and wine to taste!

Hall Wines Napa Valley

Hall Wine Napa Valley

Hall Wine Napa Valley

With the outdoor portion of our tour complete, we went into the main building, first to the tasting room which was so colorful, open and airy thanks to lots of windows letting natural light in, a high ceiling and a vibrant work of art by Spencer Finch called Painting Air.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

Next we were taken to the production area and shown a video about the grape growing and wine making processes at HALL. Even the behind-the-scenes areas feature fantastic works of art. This installation is by Graham Caldwell and is called Red Rain.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

It was now time for the final – and tastiest – portion of our tour. Time to try out the Cabernets!

Hall Wines Napa Valley

We each found a seat in the private tasting room and Amanda began telling us about the wines she’d be sharing with us during our guided tasting.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

We sampled several Cabernet Sauvignons and a WALT Wine Pinot Noir. HALL Wines is known for its world class Bordeaux varieties, particularly their highly rated Cabernet Sauvignons.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

It was too difficult to pick out just one wine to call my favorite. They all offered something different and wonderful to the palate. This Ellie’s Cabernet was one of my top picks. And I adore the label!

Hall Wine Napa Valley

Once our tasting was complete, we bought some wine to take home with us and explored a bit more of HALL on our own. Garden Plot is a quilted medallion by Nick Cave and can be found hanging on the wall in the lobby of the main building.

Hall Wine Napa Valley

It’s made with vintage costumes and bedazzled sweaters. Isn’t is fabulous? I could hardly take my eyes off of it!

Hall Wine Napa Valley

Earlier this summer Bill and I were invited to visit the Hall’s newest wine label, WALT Wines. The WALT tasting room is located just steps from the Sonoma Plaza. WALT Wines celebrates Kathryn Hall’s parents, Bob and Delores Walt who were dedicated to viticulture. In fact, it’s Kathryn’s parents who are the inspiration for the Hall’s passion for winemaking.

WALT Wine’s newly remodeled tasting room, a converted home from the 1950s, is both charming and elegant.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

Bill and I experienced their ROOT 101: A Single Vineyard Exploration in their private room. ROOT 101 showcases wines from five different vineyard locations, spanning the 101 corridor from Willamette Valley in Oregon to the Santa Rita Hills just north of Santa Barbara.

We were led through this educational tasting experience by our Host and Wine Educator, Melissa Crosby. What a lovely experience to learn so much about these premium Pinot Noir wines – our favorite red varietal – and the vineyards they came from.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

Melissa was full of interesting information about these single vineyard wines. For instance, Melissa told us that rather than crushing and pressing the grapes from the Shea Vineyard in Oregon just after harvest, then transporting the juice to California, the Pinot Noir grapes are harvested and left whole. They are immediately loaded into two refrigerated trucks and driven down the 101 to be crushed and pressed in Napa Valley. Careful attention like this is what makes the WALT and HALL wines so special.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

Wines in the ROOT 101 tasting experience are paired with delicious bites from The Girl & The Fig, one of Wine Country’s most popular and well-established eateries, which also happens to be across the street from the WALT tasting room.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

My favorite nibbles were the Mushroom Flan with Smoked Shitake Mushrooms and the Hot-smoked Salmon with Crème Fraiche and Chives.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

Along with a newly remodeled tasting room, WALT Wines also have a new look. These modern labels are stylish and color-coded. Each region has its own color.

Bill and I decided that these two bottles needed to come home with us.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

Along with ROOT 101, WALT Wines also offers a seated tasting of their current releases which take place in their indoor tasting room or outside on their beautiful patio which is shaded with tall Redwood trees.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

To book your ROOT 101 or Current Release Tasting at WALT Wines in Sonoma, visit their website or call (707) 933-4440.

WALT Wines Root 101 Tasting

The latest buzz around the Hall’s is all about Craig and Kathryn’s new book! A Perfect Score will be released in a couple of weeks.

A Perfect Score

From the HALL Wines website:

“Craig Hall and Kathryn Walt Hall recount their twenty-year climb from amateur winemakers to recipients of an elusive perfect score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. The Halls launched themselves head first into Napa Valley 20 years ago with the purchase of their first vineyard and never looked back. Since then, their critically acclaimed HALL Wines and WALT Wines have become fixtures of the California wine industry, winning numerous accolades including now, two coveted 100-point “perfect scores.”

A PERFECT SCORE weaves a vibrant tale of the HALL brand’s rise to success, Napa Valley’s tug-of-war between localism and tourism, and the evolving nature of the wine industry as a whole. Readers who love a good glass of wine will find much to savor in the Halls’ expert account of the art, soul, and business of a modern winery.”

There will be a release party at HALL Wines on September 10th that looks like it will be a blast! Get ticket information here.

If you can’t make the HALL Wine celebration, Craig and Kathryn will be touring across the U.S. discussing and signing books. Check out the calendar of events here. They may be coming to a city near you!

HALL WALT Collage

I hope you have enjoyed my highlights from the HALLmark tour at HALL Wines and ROOT 101 at WALT Wines. I highly recommend both tasting experiences while visiting Wine Country.

Make it a rich day!

XO,

Adrienne

Disclosure: Both the ROOT 101 tasting and the HALLmark tour were complimentary. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 

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Cochon Heritage Fire outfit

Since August is quickly coming to a close, I thought I would use my recent pedicure to remind you that the How I Wear My theme for September is Yellow!

Yellow OPI polish

I’m wearing OPI “I Just Can’t Cope-acabana” and that is my darling Daisy 🙂

I wanted a fresh pedicure because I am off to Las Vegas today, where I grew up, to see The Go-Go’s perform at Mandalay Bay Friday night. Like most teens in the 1980s, I was nuts about The Go-Go’s. So what makes this trip even more special and exciting is I am going with a group of girlfriends from high school including Chrissy, who came up to Wine Country for a visit last month.

I’ll be instagramming throughout the weekend @therichlifeinwinecountry if you’d like to follow along. Saturday afternoon, Chrissy and I have plans to meet one of my favorite bloggers, someone super stylish whom I am guessing you follow too!

Have a great weekend! And if you happen to wear yellow, like I did last weekend to Cochon 555’s Heritage Fire (more on that in a future post), get a photo of your complete outfit and send it to howiwearmy@yahoo.com by September 12th to be featured in How I Wear My: Yellow. Be sure to include a quotable blurb about your look.

Cochon Heritage Fire outfit

Wearing my Adora by Adrienne bag in Napa Valley

Details about this long-running monthly fashion series can be found on the How I Wear My page.

How I Wear My Badge

Make it a rich day!

XO,

Adrienne

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Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

I recently joined a group of fellow wine country writers for an elegant dinner in Dry Creek Valley to experience the delicious food and drink creations by Healdsburg-based Chef Peter Brown. The focus was on a new cocktail mixer called Stolen Fruit created by Brown and longtime Dry Creek grape growers Doug and Susan Provisor. The trio partnered to develop this unique, versatile and tasty grape-based mixer.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers are made using verjus, the fresh pressed juice of green grapes that have been cut from the vine during the thinning out process. It also uses the dried wine grape skins leftover after pressing and concentrated varietal grape juice from Northern California wine country. The juice provides both the flavor of the specific varietal grapes and sweetness to the mixers. In fact, there are no additional sugars added to Stolen Fruit.

Stolen Fruit takes juices and skins that are usually cast off during the winemaking process and turns them into flavorful concoctions that can be used to create new and exciting food friendly cocktails or mocktails.

What I love about these mixers, aside from their delectable flavors, is that they are made with ingredients sourced locally. The verjus and dried grape skins come from some of the top wineries in Northern California.

I arrived at the Provisor’s scenic property, not far from the town of Healdsburg.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Their beautiful home is set just above their 4-acre vineyard.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

What a truly lovely wine country setting for dinner al fresco.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

The evening started off with a cocktail and appetizer reception on the deck. These grilled peaches with prosciutto were summery perfection.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Just inside the Provisor’s home, a bar was set up where guests could order their choice of cocktail or mocktail. Stolen Fruit Mixers can be mixed with sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Or paired with your favorite liquor for a new taste experience.

stolen fruit mixers

I love sparkling wine so I chose Roederer Estate Brut mixed with Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

We mingled and sipped on our drinks for a bit.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

Then soon it was time to find a seat at the table, elegantly set in colorful shades of summer.

Wine Country Vineyard Dinner

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Chef Peter Brown had been quite busy preparing our six-course meal but he made time to come out and talk to us about the menu he constructed for the evening, which brought out the best in each food and cocktail course.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

The first course was a Crab and Fennel Salad with Mandarin Tarragon Vinaigrette.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

The salad was paired with a Juniper Jasmine Collins that was light and refreshing with subtle floral notes.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Next we were treated to a Chicken Coconut Curry. Such a vibrant and aromatic dish! It was served with a Lemongrass Shandy made with PBR beer and Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc Stolen Fruit Mixer – a great summer refresher on a hot day.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

Our third course was a Teriyaki Sesame Crusted Salmon paired with Blood Orange Punch using Stolen Fruit’s Blood Orange Muscat. It was an absolutely delicious pairing. I love the way Chef Peter makes his dishes so visually appealing as well as delectable.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

A break between courses gave us a moment to cheer our wonderful hosts!

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner

Photo by Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social

Moving on to our fourth course, we were treated to a sumptuous dish of Seared Duck Breast with Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Poblano and Corn Salsa. This time our dish was complemented with a Hibiscus Margarita – one of my favorite drinks from the evening – using Stolen Fruit’s Hibiscus Grenache flavor.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

As night fell, we finished off the dinner with a Grilled Ribeye with Gorgonzola Butter, served with Fig with Grains of Paradise Manhattan. And for dessert, Mexican Hot Chocolate with Fig and Grains of Paradise.

Sipping hot chocolate while watching the moon rise and the sky turn dark blue over the Provisor’s vineyard was a splendid experience.

stolen fruit mixers dinner

It was such a festive and flavorful dinner. I’m inspired to create some cocktail and mocktails of my own for a dinner party!

Wine Country Vineyard Dinner

You can find Stolen Fruit in Sonoma County at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa and the Jimtown Store in Alexander Valley. Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers can also be purchased directly online and at Amazon.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner collage

Thank you to Hannah Gart of Healdsburg Social for allowing me to use some of her photos from the dinner. And to Susan and Doug Provisor for their warm hospitality. And finally to Chef Peter Brown for an unforgettably delicious culinary experience.

 

Make it a rich day!

XO,

Adrienne

Disclosure: I was invited to the Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers Dinner as a media guest. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 

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