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Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay

Napa Valley, California


Donald Hess, Swiss by birth, bought his first vineyard in Mount Veeder in the Napa Valley in 1978...

He recognised the potential of the deep volcanic rocky soils to produce small and concentrated berries that yield structured powerful wines. His dedication to quality meant that the first wines were not released until 1987. Today, the Hess Collection Vineyards comprise more than 419 hectares of vineyards in California, with 285 hectares in the Napa Valley. From the beginning, Hess was dedicated to sustainable farming, their motto being “Nurture the land and return what you take.” As a result they have achieved various certifications because their sensitivity towards the environment touches every aspect of production, from vineyard to packaging.

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The Su’skol vineyard in southern Napa near the San Pablo Bay experiences distinctive marine influences, with cooling morning fog and stiff afternoon breezes. The 175 acre vineyard is planted exclusively to Chardonnay with nine unique clones, giving the winemaker a veritable spice rack to choose from to add layers of complex flavours to the wine. Located on an ancient sea bed, the vineyard has sandy clay and sandstone soils yielding small berries with intense apple, pear and citrus with crisp, vibrant acidity.

Vintage information

If ever a vintage might be called textbook, this would be the one. Budbreak, flowering, no heat events or crippling frost straight through to vérasion, everything on time and neat, resulting in an abundant vintage with fruit destined to bring a smile to winemakers and wine drinkers alike. Harvest took place between the 3rd and 12th of October.


35% of the fruit underwent primary and malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels of varying age. 65% of the fruit was cold fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine aged on its lees for ten months in French oak, of which 18% was new.

Tasting Notes

This is the new face of California Chardonnay, with musqué clones bringing an aromatic introduction to this stylish, crisp wine. Floral notes, with aromas and flavours of honeysuckle, apple and undertones of citrus and tropical fruits share the stage with balanced acidity and a rich touch of viscosity on the palate.

Vintage information

Vintage 2012
Grape varieties 100% Chardonnay
Region Napa Valley, California
Winemaker Dave Guffy
Alcohol (ABV) 14.5%
Acidity 5.7g/l
Residual Sugar 3.8g/l
Wine pH 3.69