Hill Family Estate operates a tasting room in Yountville – their production facility is actually at the nearby Laird Family Estate (a custom crush facility serving many small area wineries). The Hills are long time residents of the Napa Valley – since the 1970′s. After many years of providing vineyard management for some of the top producing wineries in the Valley, the Hill Family decided to venture into wine making releasing their first commercial vintage in 2001. Today they make about 5000 cases. Having a repertoire of over 600 acres to draw from, and established relationships with owners, Hill is able to select only the highest quality fruit for their wines. A tasting generally includes several whites and reds. This is only one of two tasting rooms in Napa Valley that we are aware of located within an antique shop; the shop is named Antique Fair. Yountville is not a large town and this tasting room is located in an easy to find corner location. Walk inside to the tasting counter located on the right side.
The tasting bar is small and is not setup for large groups. There is an easy going relaxed atmosphere to the tastings here. Be sure not to confuse this winery with William Hill Estate off of Silverado Trail, a totally seperate winery. Hill Family is truly a family run winery, Doug & his wife Darci and their two children Ryan and Carly are all involved. Their winemaker has been with them since day 1. Ryan has jumped into the family business full throttle and is in part responsible for an ingenious idea – Stained Fender Stratocaster guitars. Several types of wood were stained by a special red blend concocted by the Hill Family and then sent back to Fender where they produced 100 very limited production red wine stained guitars! One of these hangs on the wall near the tasting counter. Click on our photo link to see a picture of this.
We tasted their Rose of Malbec which is quite an unusual wine as in the Napa Valley Malbec is typically used as a blending varietal. This is a very easy drinking wine full of notes of strawberry and watermelon and is great for hot summer days or serving with appetizers. Its recommended to serve this chilled. The 2006 Carly’s Cuvee, Chardonnay named after the owner’s daughter sees no malolactic fermentation. Its fairly crisp with some nice flavors of butterscotch and pineapple. The Barrel Blend is their “surfer wine”. A partnership with well-known surfer, Kyle Knox pretty well ensures this is a “fun” wine! It is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and is easy drinking and quite smooth.
For you surfing enthusiasts who are up on the jargon of the waves, a picture of Kyle carving a perfect cut in “the barrel” appears on the label. An analogy of this can also be compared to the wines “balance in the barrel”. Nice! Oh, and the price is something to be “stoked” about to. Another barrel theme is their Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon. This is high end Cabernet Sauvignon and only 50 cases were made. The covering of the bottle is two toned in color to mimic a shotgun shell. You won’t find this branding at any other Napa wineries. Lastly, two of our favorites are the 2002 silky smooth Merlot Beau Terre Vineyard and their 2004 Origin which is a blend of predominately Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a touch of Malbec. Ask about their Crossroads Wine Club and their Organic Garden tour at their home, also in Yountville. Since the owners live close to the tasting room, sometimes you might find them here helping with the pouring. Visit: www.hillfamilyestate.com