About Alison Doran:
“If you want to dream in color drink wine” – Ryan Hill always stated that if you want to dream in color, drink wine. This dream soon became a reality for Hill Family Estate when winemaker Alison Doran joined the team and made the inaugural 2001 vintage. Alison was introduced to Doug while he was growing grapes and she was making wine for Lewis Cellars. Doug loved Alison’s style, personality and determination to produce the finest wines possible.
Alison developed this skill while being mentored by renowned wine expert Andre Tchelistcheff, completing a degree in winemaking from UC Davis and spending time in the legendary winery-filled region of Alsace, France. Today, Doug and Alison work closely together selecting the highest quality grapes and producing ultra premium wines.
The Hill Family Estate Team and winemaker Alison will be serving up vino at BottleRock Napa Valley.
I had a preview of the wine offerings at the Hill Family tasting room in Yountville recently. We sipped, we shared music stories, we sipped some more and somehow we ended up yodeling? These things happen in wine country. Alison it appears has other talents beyond the vines as you will discover if you stay with the entire Foodie Chap interview.
See you at BottleRock Napa Valley (May 29th, 30th & 31st) and enjoy the conversation.
2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Production: 1,284 cases
Composition: 99% Sauvignon Blanc & 1% Semillon
Vineyards: Windy Flats, Watson & Alsace
Appellations: Wooden Valley & American Canyon
Elevation: Both vineyards are hillside slopes off the valley floor
Cooperage: Fermented and aged 100% in stainless steel
Alcohol: 14.0%, TA 0.61, pH 3.21
Bottling date: 1/20/2014
Release date: February 2014
The 2013 Hill Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of two vineyards, plus a small amount of Semillon. Each vineyard offered an irresistible combination for Sauvignon Blanc. The Windy Flats vineyard in the western foothills of Wooden Valley is in a dramatic landscape of rock and cliff, with just enough soil between the marl out crops for a few acres of vines. Doug Hill chose 3 clones and carefully selected the rootstalks for this vineyard so that it offers layers of complexity and interest. Watson vineyard, down in American Canyon is a cool, steep hillside vineyard with windy afternoons and great depth of flavor. The weather all season was very nice with spells of fog in the mornings and warm afternoons. A long ripening period with fairly large balanced crops allowed for an extra week or so on the vine, increasing flavor concentration
Winemaker Alison Doran’s Tasting Notes:
The nose is fragrant and lifts white peach, lychee, and honeydew melon into the aroma. The palate is full with a big center and nice acidity, showing melon and white peach flavors to match the nose, then adding in Meyer lemon, and some golden delicious apple.
2014 Rose’ of Pinot Noir
Production: 246 cases
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyards: Knittle Vineyard
Elevation: Valley floor
Cooperage: Fermented and stored in stainless steel tank
Alcohol: 13.65%, TA 0.61, pH 3.35
Bottling date: February 18, 2015
Release date: May 2015
Knittle is a Pinot Noir vineyard in Carneros that has performed extremely well over the years. With its gently sloping gravelly soils, Knittle is a vineyard in the rebuilding stage, but for Hill Family Estate it presented a wonderful opportunity to make a Rose with crisp clarity and purity. Made in a dry style with a very faint blush of pink color, it could be served with shrimp tacos, ham, or a picnic with salamis, cheese and a fruit salad.
Winemaker Alison Doran’s Tasting Notes:
Fun and fresh with a pretty pink grapefruit and tropical fruit nose, this bubble gum pink rose is perfect for an afternoon at the pool or on the terrace. Bright crisp strawberry and watermelon candy flavors keep the palate juicy and the balanced acidity assures a clean bouncy finish.
Alison Doran of Hill Family Estate (credit: Foodie Chap/Liam Mayclem)
Cheers and see you at BottleRock Napa Valley!