Thursday, June 27, 2013

Exploring Wine: Hess Collection Chardonnay

Hess Collection, Chardonnay, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, 2010 $35
My rating for this bottle? I would drink the whole thing.

I first tried this chardonnay at the winery out in Napa Valley last July with my friend Katie. The experience was not at all what I expected after hearing what a sh*tshow the Napa scene had become. I was expecting huge tasting rooms with hoards of tourists fighting their way to the bar and demanding larger pours, drinking to get drunk. Instead, after a tour of the facilities and (fabulous) contemporary art collection on Hess Collection grounds, we had the pleasure of our first wine tasting in Napa in a quiet, almost private bar. Our guide, Ward, was knowledgeable and seemed to be having fun with Katie and I as we learned and tasted. I had my wine tasting notebook in hand and enjoyed a relaxing three days with my best friend. We had such a great experience that we signed up for their wine club (you can read more about the wine club here.) 

My tasting notes from that day read, "Smooth, slightly salty, pear(?), slight minerality, honey sweetness, usual chardonnay buttery-ness almost undetectable. Ward recommends pairing with oysters." This was one of Katie's favorite from our first stop. I purchased a second bottle at the time. Gman and I opened it a few weeks ago. It was fun to take notes and compare then to the ones from last summer (without looking at the earlier notes). Here's what Gman and I thought about it: straw color, viscus, smells of lemon and honeysuckle, slight alcohol. Tastes honey, bright light mouthfeel, creamy and buttery - what a chardonnay should be. We drank it with salad for dinner.

How interesting that the buttery flavor came out when we opened the bottle 10 months later. Or maybe I'm a more careful taster now? I am curious to see how this wine would develop with more time. I should have bought more than one bottle! Do you notice if your favorite wine changes over time?

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