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Odd couple of winemakers from Australia and California joins forces to make their mark with affordable wines that capture the essence of California’s top appellations .
By Simone Zarmati Diament
Like couples forever inseparable in our memory such as Tom & Jerry, Laurel & Hardy or Rodgers & Hammerstein who have become trade marks in the entertainment industry, Hayman & Hill, and even odder couple since one is from Australia and the other from California, are making their mark in the world of fine wine. Separately, they have been making wine for years in Australia and California: David Hayman, who has a degree in enology from Adelaide University and 25 years of experience is the senior VP of operations of Pacific Wine Partners, and Dennis Hill, who has been making wines for three decades, is Blackstone Winery’s chief winemaker. Together, while like an odd couple of the silver screen, Hayman and Hill argue endlessly about wine styles, they combine their experience to make single-appellation wines produced from varietals of California’s top wine growing regions. “As winemakers and viticulturalists, Dennis and I have a cumulative half-century of experience sourcing fruit from California and Australia’s top wine regions,” Hayman says. “Our goal is to produce small lots of affordably-priced, world-class wines that capture the essence of California’s top appellations.”
The portfolio includes five single appellation wines, food-friendly and with the characteristics of each appellation; all with a suggested retail price of $14:
2004 Hayman & Hill Chardonnay Russian River Reserve
Stainless steel fermented for freshness and then aged in small French oak barrels for eight months for complexity and roundness, the wine is crisp and fresh with ripe melon and peach and citrus undertones.
2004 Hayman & Hill Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve
Santa Lucia Highlands is creating a buzz with its Pinot Noirs. This one aged in new and one year old French oak for nine months is powerful yet elegant with a lot of strawberry and ripe raspberry.
2003 Hayman & Hill Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Reserve
Medium-bodied with crisp raspberry and toffee, its dusty aroma reflects the red soils of the ridgetops of Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County.
2002 Hayman & Hill Shiraz Viognier Monterey County Reserve
A odd couple creates an odd blend of feisty Shiraz with the floral lift of Viognier in which a predominance of red berry and exotic spices translates into firm tannins.
2003 Hayman & Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve
Big, rich with dense aromas of ripe cassis and blackberry with hints of mint and chocolate, this wine has fine tannins with a long and powerful finish. Yum!