Hall is a 500-hundred acre estate in the Rutherford Hills of Napa Valley. It was established in 2003 when Craig and Kathryn Hall acquired the historic Bergfeld Winery and then remade it into a state-of-the-art facility certified by LEED, of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a national green building program. Before getting into the wine business, Craig Hall founded the Dallas-based Hall Financial Group and was a part-owner in the Dallas Cowboys. Kathryn Hall comes from a Mendocino grape growing family and served as U.S. Ambassador to Austria from 1997 to 2001. Winemaker is Steve Leveque, who was previously winemaker at Chalk Hill Estate in Sonoma. The estate makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Robert M. Parker Jr. has complimented the estate’s wines, noting that “this is definitely another serious player in the Napa Valley.”
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.