Celebrate with HALL: Cellaring Wines
HALL Director of Winemaking, Steve Leveque discusses HALL's approach to winemaking, why HALL Wines are crafted to be approachable on release and what you can expect from aging your wines
There is a common misconception that wines must be aged to be fully enjoyed. We are fortunate in Napa Valley to enjoy long growing seasons with warm steady temperatures and copious sunshine. Some wine-growing regions in the world are limited by climate and viticulture choices preventing fruit tannins from ripening and maturing like they can in Napa Valley. These wines rely on patient cellar aging to soften their tannins and reveal their true beauty.
Our wines, however, are grown and crafted so that our tannins are mature and delicious upon release. We strictly manage our vines to limit the number of clusters and maintain an ideal canopy so that filtered sunlight can ripen the fruit to its optimized state. We then harvest our berries at their ripest point, when sugar levels are ideal and seeds have matured. Our winemaking techniques further extract fruit and tannin so that the wine is beautifully balanced and well-integrated.
It is important to note that aging a wine does not ripen its tannins. Aging will soften the tannins and allow them to “fall out” of the wine as sediment. Eventually, fruit will soften and fade from the wine as well. If you prefer ripe, fruit-forward wines, choose those with nice tannin development—not too harsh or astringent and plan to enjoy them not too long after their release.
There are many wines in our portfolio that possess such ample fruit and tannin that they can be cellared for up to 20 years. One of the truly beautiful aspects of a well-crafted wine is that it continues to develop over time; there are nuanced characteristics in wine that can only be achieved with bottle aging. Aromatics can become even more open and complex, tannins become more integrated, and new savory elements unfold on the palate.
When you cellar your wines, whether a few months or decades, store them horizontally as not to allow the cork to dry out and contract. Also, keep your wines in a steady climate—around 60 degrees is ideal—and out of direct sunlight. If you’ve purchased numerous bottles of a favorite wine, it is fascinating to uncork them over the course of a year or more to experience how the wine evolves.