Valentine love: Napa's William Hill introduces affordable North Coast wines

William Hill Estate Winery is tucked away in the benchlands on Napa's Silverado Trail. The shape of the label is the shape of the top of the winery. (Image courtesy of williamhillestate.com)

William Hill Estate Winery is tucked away in the benchlands on Napa’s Silverado Trail. The shape of the notched winery roof is repeated on the label. (Image courtesy of williamhillestate.com)

The Brand: William Hill Estate wines have been a beacon on my radar screen for years. My love for them started at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon, Ohio, where they are sold by the glass. What makes them so stunning? The intense, correct varietal character, the styling, the infusion of oak. They are pristine, solid, complex wines. Founder William Hill established the winery in 1978 — tucked serenely into the benchlands of the Silverado Trail. The William Hill Napa wines are restaurant wines — they have the quality that sommeliers seek. They are not cheap — in the $25 to $30 range in stores. But the big news is that winemaker Ralf Holdenried has styled a less expensive line — the Coastal Collection from the North Coast appellation. And they are “wow” wines! They have almost the same label and close to the same style for $17 — and right now at Metro Detroit Kroger stores, $12. The North Coast AVA (American Viticultural Area) is north of San Francisco and includes the counties of Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano.

The new “North Coast” William Hill Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are available at all Kroger stores in Metro Detroit. Look nuWilliam Hill Estate Winery 2012 North Coast Cabernet Sauv 750mlfor the North Coast designation on the front label. Karen Bloomer,who heads up Kroger wine stewards locally, says: “The team … is very impressed with the product. We found each (wine) to be very true to the varietal and are excited to be able to offer this to our customers at such a great price.” Standard retail price of the new North Coast William Hill wines is $17. Right now, Kroger is selling them for $11.99 at all stores. Talk about a wow factor!

William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 2012, $17

This is intense Cabernet — with the classic cassis, dark cherry, dark plum, dark chocolate profile, braced by acidity and dusty tannins to round out the package. It’s delish. The grapes are predominately from Sonoma and Lake County.

William Hill Estate Chardonnay North Coast 2012, $17

The oak styling, creamy mouthfeel, expressive citrus and tropical fruit, and complexity all capture the signature character of a William Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay. It’s dry, full-bodied, with good length.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.