Once upon a time, I could name almost all of the wineries in Napa. If I thought about it long enough, I could probably still name all of those wineries, but to be current, I'd have to add nearly 1,000 more to the list.
With that in mind, it's always exciting to find a "new" winery we never heard of with a rather long history of making great wines. Hill Family Estate is one of those wineries.
Doug and Darci Hill settled down on their one-acre parcel near Yountville in 1981 with the idea of raising their family on a farm. Doug not only grew up on a farm, but close to 80% of the food his family consumed came from that farm. That kind of life is not only in your blood, but in your genes, DNA and chromosomes. When you're a farmer in Napa, it's just a matter of time before you plant grapes.
It wasn't until 2001 that the Hills released their first wine. As they were adding to their vineyard holdings and planting grapes, they were selling their harvest to eager wineries who couldn't match the quality of their grapes. That's when Doug and Darci decided to try making their own wines.
Since then, Hill Family Estate has expanded to 120 acres, specializing in Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with small lots of a bevy of other grapes, including Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah and Grenache. The Barrel Blend is mostly Merlot, Zinfandel and Malbec - with splashes of 10 other grapes.
The result is a cornucopia of complex flavors including, but not limited to, blackberry jam, coffee, tobacco and vanilla pudding with a dash of pizzazz.