Hill Family Estate

2006 Stewart Vineyard Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Stewart Vineyard

California: Napa Valley: Carneros

Offer Expired:Nov 05, 2008 at 11:59 pm
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What We Say


Today’s wine is an fantastic Napa Valley Pinot Noir!


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Mission Codename: The Hills are alive!

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 an allotment of their 2006 Stewart Vineyard Pinot Noir

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Hill Family Estate

Wine Subject: 2006 Stewart Vineyard Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Alison Green Doran

Backgrounder: The Carneros region is among our very favorite Pinot Noir-producing regions on the planet! And for good reason, too: Carneros PN is delicious, exciting, and beautiful. For today’s wine, Agent Red revisited Operative-favorite, Hill Family Estate, returning with their superior 2006 Pinot Noir. Read his tasting notes and mission report below for full details

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Light and bright with hues of burgundy-to pink, with perfect clarity when you peer through its heart. When swirled, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind chubby, wide-spaced legs that are slow to form, but then hustle down the glass

Smell – A powerful nose with big earthen and fruit aromas. Light red fruit, soft earth and soft leather lead off, followed by mild spice, a hint of vanilla and savory smoked meats

Feel – A little angular on first opening, but after just a short spell of decanting, this wine takes on a softer and more rounded feel. The wine is light at first, then velvety tannins take hold and very gently grip the mid-palate and roof of the mouth.

Taste – Delicious dark fruits with dark cherry, blackberry, rose, anise, and cassis. The wine also has a lovely brightness to it, making clear its potential for flexible pairing

Finish – Big flavors and a full mouthfeel linger on, long after you sip this wine

Conclusion – A fantastic and stand out Pinot Noir from one of our favorite Napa Valley wineries, Hill Family Estate. This Pinot Noir drinks best after some extended decanting. I enjoyed a glass over a lunch of classic Cesar salad and brickoven pizza margherita, a pairing which worked perfectly. The wine developed throughout the lunch, with additional character, softness and flavors emerging throughout. Several hours later, the wine was better still! If you have never experienced a Carneros Pinot Noir, this wine is among the best we have had the pleasure to try! You are and your Holiday guests are in for a real treat…

Mission Brief:

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 wines are always outstanding wines that benefit not only from Doug’s care for his grapes, but also from the careful selection of grapes where Doug cares for his fruit.

Today’s wine is a brightly delicious wine, with great flavors and a feel that is lush, fun 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:

The location of the Carneros region can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Hill Family Estate, Member, Napa Valley Vintners

Winemaker Alison Doran’s Tasting notes:

Nose: a big ripe nose with spicy notes, some vanilla, and a savory roasted pork character

Palate: Big stand up palate on this wine with lots of black characteristics – black rose, black cherry, black licorice and even some molasses. Expansive in it’s youth; however, will begin to mellow with age.

About The Vineyard:

The Stewart Vineyard in Carneros receives cool and breezy summer weather that helps create color, depth and finesse in the Pinot Noir grape. The vineyard is planted on gravelly clay loam soils that are surrounded by an estuary created by tidal activity in this lower stretch of the Napa River. The humidity is very high at this site, so careful attention to appropriate leaf removal around the grape clusters is important to enhance grape quality and to produce wines of their highest potential. The 2006 growing season offered very cool temperatures during August and September. These cool temperatures, as well as the idealic Carneros terroir, allowed the grapes a slow and extended ripening period, helping to create the power and finesse that make this 2006 Pinot Noir fun to drink.

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.

The Vineyards:

At Hill Family Estate, we pride ourselves in having some of the best vineyards in the Napa Valley. During the past two decades, proprietor Doug Hill has managed over 1,000 acres of vines, honing the skills needed to produce quality grapes for some of the most prestigious wineries. In 2001, Doug began to select the finest grapes from the Oak Knoll, Carneros and Atlas Peak Vineyard sites for Hill Family Estate’s first crush. Today, Doug continues to manage over 750 acres in the valley, devoting his life toward growing and producing the most excellent fruit possible from the specific vineyards that he farms in the Napa Valley.

The Winemaker:

We are pleased to have Alison Green Doran as winemaker for Hill Family Estate. Her patient attitude and multitude of experience allows the best characteristics of the grapes we produce to be encapsulated in the bottle. Raised in Palos Verdes with plenty of horses and surfing, Alison was drawn into winemaking in 1973. Her father, an oil man and long time Alexander Valley vineyard owner Russell Green, had bought the Simi Winery in 1969 and brought in Andre Tchelistcheff as a consultant soon after.

By working as a harvest intern beside Andre for 6 months at Simi in 1973, Alison found both her life’s work and her mentor. Andre found her a 5 month Stagaire position in Alsace for the crush of 1975 and then an enologist position with start-up Hoffman Mountain Ranch in Paso Robles.

After finishing her Fermentation Science degree at UC Davis, she began working for the Firestone Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1976. Starting as lab tech, she worked her way to bottling supervisor and then to cellar master and then in 1981, to winemaker. With the pioneering spirit of the Firestone Family, their commitment to quality and the ideal climate and soils around the vineyard, many award winning wines were made. The Firestones’ generosity and balanced life style made for a special and stable platform for understanding the long term influences of vineyard management on winemaking. Alison became well acquanited with how to pull maximum potential for wine quality from a vineyard site.

Alison married Mark Doran in 1994 and now has two young sons. She left the Firestone Vineyard in 2000, moving back to the family ranch and vineyard in Alexander Valley. She now has several select clients who want to approach site specific winemaking with exuberance and intensity.

Technical Analysis:

Composition: Pinot Noir 95%, Syrah 5%

Vineyards: 95% Stewart Vineyard, Carneros, 5% Clarke Vineyard, American Canyon

Cooperage: 14 months in 100% French Oak, 40% new Francois Freres, Remond, and Saury

Alcohol: 13.99% alc

pH: 3.60

TA: 0.56

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