William Hill Estate Winery Chardonnay 2007By Marisa D'Vari | November 10th, 2009 | Category: Napa Valley, Wine reviews | 1 Comment »
Chardonnay is everyone's favorite grape ... it can take on so many expessions. Increasingly, you should recognize that many old world producers, especially in Macon, are edging towards new world appellations in style while some new world producers are trying to emulate old world producers.
So for those of us who appreciate the apple pie a la mode style of Chardonnay, often referred to as the California style, I am now tasting the 2007 William Hill from the Napa Valley. Yes, it is buttery, with oak, and to me a slight tange of cinammon and other spice. Yet the flavors are "real" (as opposed to being fabricated, more on that in another post) with good concentration of fruit, complexity of flavors, typicity of the region (California, you got that right), and balance between the fruit, acid, and oak.
On the nose you will find vanilla scented butter and aromas you might associate with an apple orchid in an extended harvest (very ripe fruit). On the palate, quality dry wine with medium acidity and body, and an elegant flavors of vanilla, ripe apples, and the nuances that come with oak aging.
Pair with a dish such as sole with a vanilla foam as the vanilla in the foam (or sauce) will really pick up on the vanilla flavors in the wine. If you run a wine store and are thinking of what the customer wants, this is a good suggestion when the guest walks in and demands a good buttery California Chardonnay. You will also find it a crowd pleaser for a holiday such as Thanksgiving, both when friends and family walk in the door and as an appropriate white meat pairing.
The winemaker Ralf Holdenried was kind enough to send me a note with the wine, saying the grapes were hand harvested at night (important as it keeps the grapes fresh), pressed as whole clusters, and after racking, inoculated with yeast to inintiate primary fermentation. Afterwards, maloactic fermentation and aging in French and American oak barreels on lees.
Ralf also said that since Gallo took over the property in 2007 and he became winemaker, he's been making many improvements in the vineyard and winery. This is the first wholly original release. He says he's been turning to different growers for fruit, who are able to ripen grapes completely yet retain good acidity. He sounds like he wants to be very connected to end consumers, so I hope to interview him about this and get back to you soon.