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Hess Select Monterey County Chardonnay



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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Monterey’s cooling fog and Pacific coastal breezes, drawn across the Gabilan Mountains into the Salinas Valley, create an ideal climate for growing Chardonnay, yielding wines with tantalising tropical notes and crisp acidity. Moderate temperatures lengthen the growing season, allowing fruit to evolve with layers of distinct Central Coast flavours. This wine comes from the 352 acre Shirtail Creek estate vineyard in Monterey.

Vintage information

A growing season to remember, when unusual was the norm. A wet spring, with late frosts setting the stage for continued rain deep into June. A temperate summer, much milder than average, created the need for patience as the fruit hung on the vines a bit longer to develop optimal sugars and acids. With harvest starting later, unexpectedly heavy October rains concluded the challenging growing season. Harvest took place between the 18th of September and 16th of October. 


The Chardonnay underwent 35% primary and malolactic fermentation. 65% of the wine was cool fermented in stainless steel tanks. It was then aged on its lees for eight months in a mixture of one and two year old French oak barrels.

Tasting Notes

Tropical aromas and flavours are highlighted with traditional Central Coast notes of lemon and lime zest and a touch of apple. Nicely balanced, crisp, with a lovely mouthfeel and a smooth, lingering finish. This is the new standard for California Chardonnay, a perfect wine to enjoy on its own or with contemporary dishes.

Vintage information

Vintage 2013
Grape varieties 100% Chardonnay
Region California
Winemaker Dave Guffy
Alcohol (ABV) 13.5%
Acidity 6.6g/l
Residual Sugar 5.3g/l
Wine pH 3.55