The massive wild fires in Northern California caused egregious destruction. Burning more than 330 square miles, the devastation is larger than the area of New York City. One of the fires responsible for much of the havoc is the Atlas Peak Fire, damaging or destroying dozens of Napa Valley wineries. One winery located on Atlas Peak is William Hill Estate Winery. The winery was not destroyed but the fire inflicted cosmetic damage to the winery and landscape, and only minimal vineyard damage, according to a statement released by E. &J. Gallo. Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties have a long recovery ahead of them. There are many ways the world can help, one way is to buy their wine.
William Hill Estate Winery is located on a unique 200 acres parcel at the foot of Atlas Peak on the Silverado Bench. The soil here tends to be rocky and nutrient deprived, the vines struggle to find water deep in the soil. These stresses result in fruit that is intense in color and flavor. In addition to the 140 acre estate vineyards, winemaker Mark Williams sources fruit from southern Napa, the North Coast, and Central Coast, allowing him to create a wide portfolio of wines.
As harvest was close at hand, before the fires, William Hill Estate sent me three of their wines to try. The letter accompanying the wines spoke of their excitement of the upcoming harvest. How winemaker Mark Williams’ time in his truck to visit the William Hill wineries in the Russian River Valley, typically taking the back roads over the Mayacamas Mountains (last I saw them they were a raging inferno). Mark also travels to visit their North Coast vineyards in Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino Counties. My heart aches to imagine what that drive looks like now. These three wines are from the William Hill North Coast vineyards, cooler in climate the wines are expressive with crisp acidity.
Here are my notes:
2016 William Hill Winery Sauvignon Blanc North Coast California USA ($17): Pale lemon with green hues; Pronounced aromas of ripe peaches, lemon juice, Korean melon, jasmine, grassy herbal notes, a hint of trailing white pepper; crisp and refreshing on the palate with lots of tropical, stone, and citrus fruits; racy acidity with a medium finish.
2015 William Hill Winery Chardonnay North Coast California USA ($17): Crafted of 97% Chardonnay, 3% select white varieties; medium gold; medium+ aromas of ripe tropical fruit, melon, stone fruit, lemon curd, spice, soft white floral notes; malo imparts a creamy mouthfeel but it is balanced with medium+ acidity for a tart and refreshing overall experience, it is delicious, medium+ body, long tart fruit finish, racy and energetic.
2015 William Hill Winery Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast California USA ($18): Crafted of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% other select varieties; medium+ ruby; pronounced aromas are dominated by caramel, behind it are notes of ripe red and black fruit, spice, chocolate, and leather; caramel follows through on the palate though less pronounced and is joined by soft fruit notes, spice, and toasted walnuts; aged in oak but no specifics provided, however, oak is most influential in this wine; medium body with medium+ youthful/grippy tannins, and medium acidity; medium body, long dry finish.
Click here to purchase these wines direct from the winery.