Friday, February 15, 2019

Roaring Good Monterey County Chardonnay

The lion on the Hess label represents the winery and its founder Donald Hess.  With estates in Argentina and South Africa as well as Napa Valley, this winery really gets around.  Hess staked out a claim on Napa’s Mount Veeder in the 1970s, when there was still room to move around.  He retired in 2011 and passed the torch to the 5th generation of the family to carry on old traditions and forge new ones.  Dave Guffy is only the second person to lead the winemaking team at Hess. 

Hess Select Monterey County Chardonnay 2016

The grapes for the 2016 Hess Select Monterey County Chardonnay came from the family's 352-acre Shirtail Creek Vineyard in Monterey.  Guffy calls it a new take on the most popular wine around, and identifies tropical notes as its hallmark.  He feels that Monterey's cooling fog and Pacific coastal breezes, drawn across the Gabilan Mountains into the Salinas Valley, are perfect for Chardonnay.

This golden wine smells of tropical fruit like mango and pineapple, with apple and sweet oak thrown on top.  The palate shows that oak, but in an even-handed way.  It works.  The mouth is full, and the acidity is zippy. 

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