2013 Hess Collection Mt Veeder Napa Valley Chardonnay

2013 Hess Collection Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Chardonnay

The Hess Collection is a unique Napa Valley winery experience, one of the few places where art and fine wine are presented together with as much balance. From Napa, take the Redwood/Trancas exit off Highway 29 and head west 10 to 15 minutes up Mt. Veeder. Clear and well-placed signs will guide you there (see map at end of page). With the deep watering provided by our recent week of heavy rain, the hillsides are thick with vegetation now – colorful trees and flowers that bloom about this time each year.

Check in at the visitor’s center reception desk and you’ll be sent along upstairs to the art gallery (no charge) or across the hallway to the tasting room ($20 per 4 wine flight). Tasting room decor is sparse compared to most, but pleasant, just a few vineyard photographs on rock walls and displays depicting cross sections of local soils. A growing burr under my saddle lately has been under-staffing in tasting rooms, turning what should be an enjoyable 30 minute experience into an hour long ordeal. Such is not the case here. Our wine host, Sandy, did a great job of keeping things moving while providing helpful answers to a lot of questions.

The breadth of varietals offered in current releases is extensive (see photo of list in gallery below). Most grapes are sourced from nearby mountain, inland or coastal vineyards with names such as Veeder Hills, Veeder Summit, Su’skol, Allomi (Pope Valley) or Shirtail Creek (Monterey County). Veeder Hills is planted with a wide range of reds and whites at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from 600 to 1,120 feet. These altitudes provide a slightly cooler micro climate compared to many of the near-sea level vineyards on the Napa Valley floor, resulting in concentrated characteristics of wine in the bottle.

If you like to take home a few bottles from your wine tasting adventures, Hess Collection is the place to do it. White wines are under $40 and under and some very good Cabs, Pinots, Malbec and other select reds range from about $50 to $100. There is uniformity of quality across the full range of wines and I found each to be on the high end for its particular style and varietal. My favorite of the day was the Mt. Veeder Chardonnay (photo top right). If you ride the un-oaked Chardonnay bandwagon with me, hop on board with this great wine that is appropriately priced at $40 retail.

Add The Hess Collection to your wine adventure itinerary next time you visit Napa Valley.

The Hess Collection – 4411 Redwood Road, Napa, CA 94558
Phone (707) 255-1144

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Note: The author was provided a complimentary tasting and discount on a case of wine purchased, though not as a condition for reporting this tasting room adventure.