Hyde de Villaine Napa Valley Chardonnay 2010


Sheer quality and intensity. It is a wine that needs time and attention.

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A joint venture between Larry Hyde and Aubert de Villaine. Aubert is the owner of the world famous Domaine de la Romanée Conti and his involvement makes this a wine geeks dream. This wine is a savoury, briney, zesty, creamy and textural affair. One to mull over rather than quaff.

There is a lot going on in this wine and if you don’t pay close attention, you will miss most of it. Initially it is all oak and caramel and walnuts but with time and air and attention there is so much more. Melons and grapes, salted caramel/brine, green olives and a hint of a lot more. The palate is full and rich. Plenty of impact straight away. But there is a structure that pulls it all along and at no point does this wine look flabby. I think it is drinking incredibly well right now, it might get better but I would be drinking mine over the next 18 months. Food is really crayfish or similar bold flavours.

Napa Valley – The Napa made its reputation at the infamous Judgement of Paris tasting where dual blind tastings in USA and France saw the wines from the Californian region ‘beat’ great wines from France. The first commercial vineyard was planted in 1858 and the region has survived phylloxera, Prohibition, the Great Depression and two world wars, the wines are obviously worth the patience.It is hard to generalise on styles and quality as within Napa there are 16 sub-regions called AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) which have their own terroir (climate, soils, sunshine) but in general it tends to favour varieties that like a lot of sunshine and a moderate to long growing season.

Chardonnay – The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation.

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