Very recently we had some wine, which was an old friend of ours. It was one of the first wineries that we visited during our week in Napa Valley. I am talking about Hess Collection. Well my Bride was excited because she had found some Hess Chardonnay at our local merchant, and it is not a wine that we encounter all that often.
The first thing I noticed was that the label was different, but at first I figured that it was just an updated label. Then I noticed that the wine was from Monterey County, rather than Napa Valley and that this wine was labeled Hess Select, instead of Hess Collection. I also looked at the back label and saw that it now was part of Hess Family Estates, and that the parent company was still located in Napa County.
So now I was curious and I had to visit the website and found that they still produce a couple of Hess Collection Chardonnay wines in Napa, but they also have a grouping that was new to me. The Hess Select Chardonnay, like I remarked earlier was from Monterey County and I am very partial to Chardonnay wines from this area. If I can make a generalization, which I know that I shouldn’t, but I find that Chardonnay wines from Napa are more buttery and creamy, while I find that the Chardonnay wines from Monterey are more fruit forward and more refreshing. I find that I enjoy this type of wine to be great with appetizers, cheese plates and just to have while chatting with friends. I am sure that my Bride will be bringing home more of this Hess Select Chardonnay 2011, and as of yet, I have not had a bad 2011 Chardonnay, so we may stock up for the year.
The HESS Select Chardonnay was one of my two go to Chardonnay’s at my previous job as a Wine Steward. When on sale we could not keep enough of it on the shelf. Once customers discovered it they always came back for more. I consider it to be more old world in style than new world overly buttery etc. The past couple of vintages have all been excellent. This could easily be my house Chard. Glad you re/discovered it!
I agree that it is much different than the buttery Chardonnay wines that Napa has become famous for, and there is a time and a place for that type of wine as well, which the Hess Collection Chardonnay is of this group as I recall from when we bought the wine. My Bride really enjoyed the wine as well, as I seem to have found a case of it to take down to the cellar (she tends to leave the cases in the library and allows me the joy of restocking the cellar in my OCD manner).