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Another Excellent Hall Wine

Hall has become one of the most consistent quality producers over the past few years.  I remember buying Hall Cabernet four years ago for about $25 a bottle and thinking that it was a great value.  You can’t buy Hall Cabernet for $25 anymore, and that’s a pity because they make really good wine across the board.  Their Napa Valley Cabernet will run you about $35 to $40.  The Merlot is about $25 to $30 and the top end Kathryn Hall Cab is more like $100.  They’ve gotten pricey, and that’s the result of a run of high scores every year.  This is generally good stuff.

At issue today is a bottle of 2005 Hall Merlot.  This vintage predates their rise in popularity and awareness.  It comes from the less heralded days and price ranges I wish we could revisit.  But is it good?  Let’s discuss.

0201141705Wine:  2005 Hall Merlot                                            

Winery Location:  Napa Valley

Tasted By:   Neil & Cheri                             Date:    February 2014

Tasting Notes:     – we should start by saying again we generally like just about everything Hall makes.  This is an earlier vintage, and at almost ten years there is the question of how well it might have stood the test of time.  Not to worry.  This came out of the bottle dark purple with red at the rim, not at all like on older, tired wine.  It was very dark.  Not opaque but very dark.  At first a full nose of dark fruits came out, but that quickly disappeared as the wine closed down.  Not falling for that, we put down the glasses for twenty minutes and came back.  The aromas had returned, and there were nice dark fruits, anise and floral notes.  There was also noticeable alcohol, and throughout the tasting experience this wine gave me the impression of having more alcohol than it does.  It smelled a little hot, it tasted a little hot, but it checks in at 14.5%, so while not demure it is not a monster either.  I think the acid had tempered (and Merlot is not a high acid grape anyway) and the alcohol was taking more center stage.  It reminded me a little of a Shafer Merlot we had tried last month, although that was 15.5% alcohol.  On the palate this was rich and deep, with nice fruit, some spice, nice oak and smooth tannins.  The finish was pleasant and long.  It’s a big wine.  It’s also very clearly a well made wine, as is the case with most of what Hall bottles.  You can’t go wrong here.  You can potentially spend more than you might like.

Price Point –   About $18 years ago, as this has been hanging around the cellar a while.  I couldn’t find it available now.  The 2010 version, which is probably at least as good, is around $25 – $30.

Would We Buy It? – Unfortunately we can’t, otherwise we would.  As for the current vintage, we will buy some if we see a good sale price.  I’m always looking for Hall Cab or Merlot at a good price.  At $25 it’s not a bad deal.  This is good stuff.

If you’re comfortable at the $25 range for Merlot you can do much worse.   It’s too bad this particular vintage seems to be unavailable.

A votre sante!

 

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