What We Say 2004 Napa Valley Merlot
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Hill Family Estate.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!: Today’s wine is an fantastic Napa Valley Merlot!
SAVINGS ALERT!: Smart Spies stock up on great wines that we feature. And, when they enjoy 6 or more, we’ll throw in Free Ground Shipping, with coupon code: NAPASPY
Mission Codename: A Merlot to know
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Our Operatives snapped up our previous Hill Family Estates wine in record numbers. Send Agent Red back to Return to Hill Family Estate and procure a large allotment of their 2004 Napa Valley Merlot
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hill Family Estate
Wine Subject: 2004 Napa Valley Merlot
Winemaker: Alison Green Doran
Backgrounder: To true wine lovers, Merlot is one of the finest wine varietals in the world. Today, Merlot continues to sell in record numbers across the US, outpacing all other varietals. Merlot is sincere wine for serious wine drinkers. If you think that Merlot is not for you, forget everything that you think you know about Merlot and embrace this spectacular example. Read Agent Red’s mission report, immediately following his tasting notes.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet to burgundy with great clarity. When swirled, this wine shows a bouncy surface and leaves behind chubby legs the crawl down the glass at varying speeds
Smell – This wine requires some time to open up, but eventually reveals a floral quality, along with rich dark aromas of blackberry, raspberry, sweetwoods and mild spices
Feel – Soft and round, light at first, then the wine grips gently at the your cheeks as it coats your mouth. The wine has balanced light-to-medium tannins that introduce a slight dryness that makes your mouth water
Taste – This wine present dark but delicate layers of blackberry, burnt raisin (tastes way better than it sounds, perhaps), cedar and a hint of kiwi fruit and a smaller hint of mild eucalyptus
Finish – A super long finish, with flavors that change from tart to sweet, leaving behind flavors that linger
Conclusion – Ahhh, another great wine from Hill Family Estate! This Merlot is rich and dusky and delicious, with great fruit that pops out as you swirl, sniff and sip. For great results with this wine, be sure to decant it before you serve it, or encourage your fellow drinkers to swirl away and revel in how the wine emerges as they do. If you love Merlot or not, I promise that this is one of the finest you have tried from The Wine Spies!
The Hill Family could not be more qualified to make great wines. Since common wisdom holds that great wines are made in the vineyard, Doug Hill seems uniquely qualified, for his 25+ year wine odyssey started with him tending vineyards in the Napa Valley.
As vineyard manager for more than a thousand acres vineyards, Doug was responsible for the meticulous care of grapes for the finest wineries in the Napa Valley. His stewardship of the vines, it could be said, led to the creation of the finest of wines.
It was only natural that Doug should one day create his own wines, from his own vineyards – and that those wines should, of course, begin life in the vineyards themselves.
Today, the wines that the Hill Family Estate produces are grown in fields tended by Doug himself. Each of Hill Family’s wines show the care of the man and the character unique to each vineyard.
The Hill Family Estate Merlot is fantastic. Our friend, Ryan Hill, declares the wine to be his favorite of all of the great wines that his family produces.
Today’s wine is lush, layered and deeply aromatic with a richness of taste, flavor and feel that are unique and very pleasing. This is a wine that conveys what commitment, beautiful vineyards, great fruit, tender care – and what the magical combination of these things taste like.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
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What the Winery Says
Hill Family Estate
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Hill Family Estate, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
About This Wine:
This 2004 Merlot showcases the Hill Family’s “Beau Terre” Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District of the Napa Valley. A cool site with deep stony soils, it is the area where Doug Hill has developed his 30 years of experience growing Merlot. Using clone 181 on 101-14 with 5 × 8 spacing, the vines are on a quadrilateral cordon system with extensive catch wires to expose fruit to the sun, and to shade it in the middle of the day.
Winemaker Alison Doran’s Tasting Notes:
Nose: Somewhat shy on opening then almost flowery, then finally a rich savory nose of wood spice and smoke with currant and raspberry fruit.
Palate: The front is soft and balanced with beautiful blueberry and kiwi flavors. Palate swells into a rolling mouth-filling center and then tails off smoothly.
About The Winery:
Rich in Character – Hill Family Estate brings us wines as rich in character and complexity as the skill and expertise of the vintner. Doug Hill’s passion has been to create a wine that captivates the palate, and is as impressive as the quality vineyards of the Napa Valley he has grown to appreciate over the last twenty-five years. Doug’s vast vineyard management experience provides an in-depth appreciation for the patience required to harvest excellence. Doug’s patience has resulted in the opportune time for the release of Hill Family Estate wines.
Doug and Darci’s children now bring a growing passion for quality wines which have been a part of the Hill Family heritage. Ryan brings an enthusiasm for food and wine and the experience he has gained working in restaurants which gives him a better understanding of consumer expectations.
Vision – The shared vision of Doug, Darci, Ryan, and Carly shows a promise of many harvests that will be well worth the wait. They invite you to put your reservations in for these quality wines in limited production which reflect the excellence in the vineyard under Doug Hill’s expertise.
About The Beau Terre Vineyard:
Location: Oak Knoll District, Valley floor
Climate: Foggy summer mornings heat up to warm afternoons. The evening cools down with coastal breezes
Elevation: 30 feet
Key notes: The well drained, gravelly soils consistently produce great Cabernets and Merlots.
Production: 720 cases
Composition: 76% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec
Vineyards: Beau Terre, Baker
Appellation: Oak Knoll, Atlas Peak
Elevation: Valley Floor and Hillsides
Vine age: 8-10 years
Cooperage: 16 months in 50 % new French oak (Radoux, Remond, Bossuet and Berger barrels)