Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Trio of Hess Select White Wine

Last month we experienced a delicious wine lunch with representatives of the Hess Family Wine Estates where we focused primarily on their Napa Valley estate wines released under the Hess Collection label. Our party was also introduced to the winery's super market brand, the Hess Select, but in name only. But soon afterwards I received a trio of samples that showcase these value wines made from grapes sourced from throughout the Golden State and Argentina. In general, these are well made wines, reasonably priced per quality, and should be widely available. Cheers.


California Pinot Gris 2017 ($13) - This is a new entry into the Hess Select portfolio sourced from vineyards throughout California to achieve, according to wine maker Dave Guffy, a "fruit forward expression of Pinot Gris". Guffy continues that the grapes are fermented at cold temperatures which accentuates the fruit expression further. This was my favorite of the three, a light wine with lemons and stone fruit from start to finish with refreshing acidity. Nicely done.

Monterey Chardonnay 2016 ($13) - Hess has been producing this wine since the early 1990s using fruit harvested from Monterey County. Dave Guffy relates that the ocean breezes from the Pacific Ocean allow the grapes to "retain their tropical and fruit forward edge" and to add weight 25% of the wine is aged in new French oak. This is one I enjoyed more as the wine warmed; too cold and the wine feels over extracted with the oak dominating the flavor. However, as the wine opens and warms, the oak starts to dissipate allowing the green apple, lemon, and tropical notes to appear.

North Coast, Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($13) - The North Coast AVA encompasses several sub-AVAs and grape-growing regions in six counties located north of San Francisco: Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano. Lake and Mendocino counties were the sources for this wine and Duffy says the later provides Sauvignon Blanc grapes with grassy notes and the inland Lake county more tropical and ripe flavors. This is another one that benefits from warming as the tropical aromas and flavors are overpowering when cold. As the wine warms the grassy and lemon characters begin to add balance to this light and very refreshing summer sipper.
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