Hendry Unoaked Chardonnay 2019
Pale yellow. This unassuming, unadorned wine highlights the beauty and purity of our Chardonnay fruit. Among the first blocks picked every year, blocks 19 and 20 are low-yielding, producing concentrated, flavorful fruit. Soft, subtle aromas of green apple, lemon and nectarine. Light-bodied with surprisingly layered flavors and just a touch of bright acid on the finish. It might be easy to overwhelm this delicate, easy-drinking wine with strong flavors, so keep it light with a lemon-accented chicken breast on the grill, chilled veggie-based soups, hummus or guacamole with chips, or just sip by itself.
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The Hendry family has been farming the same vineyard in Napa since 1939. The lessons learned in more than 70 harvests provide us with a level of knowledge and a connection to the land that is rare in Napa. The Hendry Ranch is composed of 114 acres of vineyard situated in the hills north west of Napa. This latitude in the valley experiences substantial marine influence, and allows us to grow 10 different varietals, each carefully distributed among our 47 vineyard blocks. All Hendry wines are made from estate grapes, and 2011 will be the 20th vintage of the Hendry label. Through the subtle use of oak, and restraint in ripeness, our wines are crafted to highlight the terroir of the vineyard.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. White wines from Napa Valley are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific wine characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth red wines with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Napa Valley wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.