Three Reasons Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Fans Love Patz & Hall

Photo by Fran Miller

For more than three decades, Patz & Hall has crafted dramatic Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that serve as a California benchmark for the two popular varietals. Patz & Hall’s beautifully rendered Chardonnays are delicious upon release and continue to evolve in the bottle over time, and their Pinots express a range of flavors, from fresh ripe berries and cherries, to intriguing earthy flavors, each depending on the vineyard, the grower, and the clone. The keys to Patz & Hall’s luscious wines? One: fruit from some of California’s best small, family-owned vineyards. Two: oak. Three: winemaker James Hall. Of course there are other reasons why lovers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay love Patz & Hall - such as the elevated wine tasting experiences at their welcoming Sonoma County winery - but these three in particular aptly explain Patz & Hall's appeal:

Grapes From the Best Vineyards: Patz & Hall has always sought out the very best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards in California. Built on true friendships, the winery's established and long-term relationships with talented winegrowers have served each well. Patz & Hall works with Larry Hyde & Family, Lee and George Martinelli, Lee Hudson, and Bud and Charlie Chenoweth, to name just a few, each of whom farm world-class sites. These partnerships with those who share an intense commitment to quality have led to the rich diversity of Patz & Hall’s wine portfolio.

The Oak: Patz & Hall believes that oak is an essential component of fully articulated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They use primarily custom French oak barrels made from their own stave wood, air dried, and seasoned for three years to their specifications by the François Frères Cooperage at Saint Romain in the heart of Burgundy. (Extended aging of the stave wood - eighteen months longer than the typical barrel stave - requires that they maintain, at their own expense, a three-year supply of wood at all times.) These custom barrels add a very complex, spicy, sweet oak component to the wine without the drying tannins or astringent ‘woodiness’ found in many other barrels. Stave woods dried for three or more years impart more complex aromas such as clove, cinnamon, and vanilla to the finished wines. In addition, the softness of these older and softer woods helps build beautiful texture and an extended, creamy finish to both of Patz & Hall’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay bottlings. 

James Hall

The Winemaker: Patz & Hall winemaker James Hall has earned a reputation for crafting wines that balance vibrant power with vineyard-inspired depth and sophistication. A master of his craft, he is a popular speaker on the topic of artisan winemaking. For more than 30 years, he has guided the Patz & Hall winemaking program, instilling it with his own boldness, imagination, and trademark perfectionism. The son of a wine-enthusiast English professor, Hall developed an early appreciation for fine wine during European travels with his family. While studying liberal arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Hall also started studying winemaking textbooks in his spare time. Inspired, he transferred to the University of California, Davis to study viticulture and enology. He took his first winery job at Felton-Empire in 1981, ultimately founding - and finding his home - at Patz & Hall in 1988. 

Photos courtesy of Patz & Hall, unless otherwise noted

Patz & Hall's Sonoma County winery and wine tasting facility

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have established the Golden State Warriors...(Read More)

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