Columns Food & Wine Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Hall and WALT Wines ‘A Perfect Score’

Above: Lux brand WALT Wines, the acclaimed luxury brand of Pinot Noir, introduced their newest vintage brands at a special WALT Vertical Tasting in Laguna Beach. Photo by Frank Mangio

A casual chic gathering of guests made themselves comfortable at the Seven Degrees special event center in Laguna Beach recently, to toast the success of Hall and WALT Wines of Napa Valley and Sonoma.

It was a “coming out” party of sorts and for two purposes: seven new Pinot Noirs with the WALT label were nicely spaced for each guest to sample on several large party tables with an explanation of the appellation (where the wine grapes came from), plus a delightful food pairing of each wine lay beside the wines. Beautifully done!

A book written by Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall had made it on the New York Times bestseller list.

It’s the fascinating story of a modern day winery that built its success in this century, culminating in a 100-point score from the world’s leading wine critic, Robert Parker.

It was in fact “A Perfect Score” for the Hall 2010 “Excellenz” Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested only 15 years after the Halls launched their winery in Rutherford, Napa Valley.

Kathryn Walt Hall

In 2012, under General Manager Jeff Zappelli, WALT Wines, Kathryn’s maiden name, was launched with a separate winery in Sonoma.

The key to WALT’s success over other Pinots is that it offers a bottle from each of the major Pinot growing areas: The Willamette Valley in Oregon and California’s Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Rita Hills, with a total of seven different vineyards.

“It’s literally 1,000 miles of Pinot,” declared Kathryn Walt Hall.  “We craft WALT wines to naturally and honestly express the character of each vineyard.  We source from the most prestigious vineyards along the Pacific Coast. Imagine tasting seven different expressions of this beautiful varietal.”

It’s an impressive lineup of Pinot Noir.

Over on the Hall side of this dynamic duo of rich red wines, Hall has been dedicated to showcasing fine reds composed of classic Bordeaux French varietals. Their St. Helena property has many expressive art pieces, like the 35-foot-long chrome “Bunny Foo Foo” stainless steel sculpture seemingly jumping over the vineyard.

In the late 1990s Kathryn Walt Hall was the U.S. Ambassador to Austria. That gave her broad exposure to the diplomatic circles where European culture thrived. She applied her love of the quality of life, to the art and business of wine.

Locally in San Diego, the WineSellar & Brasserie unveiled WALT Pinot Noirs along with a line of Zinfandels called BACA wines, from the Napa Valley Howell Mountain district 2017 vintage ($50). A core of strawberry, blackberry and raspberry meets the palate at the front, lavished with aromas of wild sage, sweet pine and peppercorn.

Clearly Hall, WALT and now BACA have led the charge for Kathryn and Craig Hall, and the best is yet to come for this game-changing winery group. The book, “A Perfect Score,” is an easy read to familiarize yourself with the art, soul and business of a 21st century winery. Look for hallwines.com and waltwines.com for more information.

Wine Bytes

  • Carter Estate Winery and Resort in Temecula has a new Wine & Chocolate Pairing Experience every Friday starting at 3 p.m. Experience this 105-acre wine paradise with over 3,000 awards and medals since 1981. Advance reservations required at $45 per person, $40 each for wine club members. Pairings like dark chocolate ganache with a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon and much more. RSVP at (888) 253-9841.
  • Seasalt Seafood Bistro in Del Mar has done it again with a premium Antinori Family wine dinner at 6 p.m. June 20 and June 21, featuring the Antica Winery from Napa Valley. Antica’s old-world, new-world approach to wine making blends Antinori’s 630 years of Italian wines with modern techniques to craft an excellent Napa Valley treasure in Antica. Cost is $75 per person. These Seasalt events sell out fast and may now be sold out, so call now at (858) 755-7100 to save a chair for you and yours.
  • The 24th annual Rotary Club of Bonsall Wine, Brews and Blues Festival is from 5:30 to 10 p.m. June 15 at Pala Mesa Resort, Old Hwy 395 in Fallbrook.
  • Tasty bites by local restaurants and great blues music for dancing by Bill Magee and his Blues Band, add to the festivities. Tickets are $75 each, designated driver $55, available at Bonsallrotary.com. There is a benefit Silent Auction to add to the fun.
  • The San Luis Obispo Wine Country is presenting “Roll out the Barrels,” a three-day celebration June 20 through June 22. Location for the Grand Event Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. This is a walk-around, with tailored food and wine pairings to sample with live music. Cost is $60 per person. Purchase tickets at Slocoastwine.com.

Leave a Comment