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Expression Wines - Napa Valley

92 Points - Wine Spectator

The name William (Bill) Hill has been a widely recognized name in California wine circles for more than four decades. His original winery, William Hill Winery, became a top notch Napa Valley entity and was ultimately sold to industry giant Gallo in the mid-1970’s. From that time, Bill Hill has taken a rather unusual path toward becoming one of the wine industry’s most respected (named to Wine Spectator’s Top 50 list in 1996) planters and vintners. Hill was originally from Oklahoma and early in his career earned a masters in business from Stanford University. Sensing the importance of developing high quality vineyards in numerous microclimates that exist along the Pacific Coastline, he set out to establish himself as one of the top formulators of vineyards in the wine industry.

At present, Hill owns and operates a large number of vineyards along various sections of the coastline of California, Oregon and Washington. He has had a hand in developing almost 40 different wineries and vineyard properties, arguably among the finest vineyards in the entire nation. His development company, Premier Pacific Vineyards, owns and operates vineyards that sell to the very top wineries throughout California and elsewhere. “The simple fact is that Bill just loves dirt,” remarked Kevin O’Brien, general manager for Hill’s new operation, named Expression Wines.

“He adamantly believes that dirt is the prime determinant of what winds up in the glass, and that’s what dictates the eventual fate of the winery.” Expression Wines is Hill’s latest Pinot Noir-specific project that represents the best subappellations (and plots of dirt) on the West Coast. Since Hill formerly developed the likes of Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain Ranch and Mt. Veeder Estates along with other notable properties, it would be easy to expect greatness from fruit he controls directly or through partnership. Such is the case with Expression Wines, whose vineyard sources include four of the West Coast’s premier growing tracts. Fruit from Santa Rita Hills, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, and the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley make up the vineyard content for Expression’s wines. Each vineyard is located at different latitudes, representing different ‘Expressions’ of Pinot Noir, and winemaker Patrick Mahaney is dedicated to crafting the best Pinots possible from each site and region.

The goal at Expressions Wines is to showcase the vineyards and unique terrior of each sub appellation. Each vintage, the team crafts a blend from each latitude, as well as small, singlevineyard-designate bottlings from each latitude that represent the best of what these vineyards can deliver.

Expression Wines made its debut in 2006 when it produced just a couple hundred cases. The wines were instant hits and produced some of the highest scores for a first appearance winery ever seen. Since then, additional wines have produced exceptional scores and Expression Wines is now accepted as one of the premier niche wineries on the West Coast. Based in Napa Valley, this unique winery is quietly turning out some incredible Pinots that truly deserve your attention.

One of the keys to Expression Wines’ early success is the winemaking team that Bill Hill has assembled. The team is led by Patrick Mahaney, a 24-year veteran of the Robert Mondavi Winery group. Mahaney’s last eight years with Mondavi found him in the role as Vice President of Global Wine Quality, an incredibly high profile position in the multi-continent company that Mondavi has become. The UC-Davis trained winemaker has played an important role in Expression Wines’ development and initial early success.

“We have a really top-flight team put together,” concluded O’Brien. “We are on the cutting edge with regard to our wines, but in a really safe mode. Bill Hill is interested in new choices, but safe choices. We have already seen the possibilities from our early releases, but I think there are more really great wines in the future. Expression Wines has created a great deal of excitement so far, and we intend to do the same for many years in the future.”

Patrick Mahaney, an industry veteran with extensive vineyard experience that shows.

Patrick Mahaney is An industry veteran that brings over 30 years of vineyard and winemaking history to the Expression Wines brand. Prior to joining Expression Wines, Mahaney had a 24-year career at Robert Mondavi Winery where he specialized in perfecting wine quality and honed his craft to an incredibly talented level. While at Mondavi, Mahaney served as the Director of Napa Valley Winemaking Operations before being promoted as the winery’s Vice President of Global Wine Quality.

About The Region

Expression Wines’ 2009 Roserock Vineyard "44" Pinot Noir comes from the Eola-Amity Hills appellation of Oregon’s illamette Valley. This valley is comprised of 37,900 acres and is home to many of Oregon’s finest Pinot Noir vineyards. The climate in this region is greatly influenced by its position due east of the Van Duzer Corridor, which provides a break in the coast range that allows cool Pacific Ocean air to flow through. This breeze drops temperatures in the Eola-Amity Hills, especially during late summer afternoons, contributing to the ideal conditions for cool-climate loving Pinot Noir. The Roserock Vineyard is planted exclusively to Pinot Noir and is comprised of 131 planted acres. Perched on a ridge top towards the southern end of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, Roserock vineyard and its stellar wines is one of the primary reasons the Eola-Amity Hills AVA is emerging as one of the world’s most exciting winegrowing regions for Pinot Noir.

Pork Loin with Pinot Noir Sauce


2 pounds pork tenderloin
10 slices applewood smoked thick-cut bacon, divided
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 cups demi-glace
3/4 cup Pinot Noir


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice each tenderloin crosswise into four equal pieces. Wrap 1 piece of bacon around the pork and secure with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Repeat with the remaining pork and bacon. Sprinkle with pepper. Heat a large castiron skillet over moderately-high heat, add the pork, and cook until golden brown, turning once (about 6 minutes total). Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until no longer pink in the middle and the bacon is golden and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. In a large skillet over moderate heat, cook the remaining bacon until crispy, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Keeping the fat in the pan over moderate heat, add the shallots to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the demi-glace
and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about
15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the pork with a generous drizzle of the Pinot
Noir Sauce. Enjoy!