Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wine Book: A Perfect Score

There is a wine book available for those who like to immerse themselves in the written word about the subject. And who doesn't? A Perfect Score by Craig and Kathryn Hall traces their 20-year path from amateur winemakers to the recipients of the celebrated 100-point score from Robert Parker's "The Wine Advocate." The hit the magic number twice, in fact, in 2013 and 2015.

The book is subtitled as "The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery," and their tale encompasses all those aspects, with an emphasis on the business end. After all, a book touting your 100-point wines is not written as a matter of idle chatter. It's written to raise awareness of the winery through one the use of the best-possible "shelf talkers."

The Napa-Valley couple both come from the business world, but Kathryn's family has roots in Mendocino wine. The HALL wines are Bordeaux varieties, while the WALT line covers the Burgundy grapes of California's cooler regions. Their wine shops are bursting forth with highly-rated bottles from both sides of the vineyard fence.

In A Perfect Score, the Halls give a breezy look at how they came to make wines that would win over the critics. They also touch upon the Napa Valley's tug-of-war between localism and tourism. That's probably one of the more interesting threads to follow as California's first great wine region still struggles through its growing pains.

Art comes into play, as the Halls use artwork to enhance the winery experience. At their St. Helena location, there is a 35-foot-tall Bunny Foo Foo sculpture greeting visitors, one of the many works of art adorning their wineries.

The book also discusses how the Halls have created a completely organic, green winery. They say their St. Helena winery was the first LEED Gold Certified Winery in California.


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