2014 Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay SKU #1265565


WE 90
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

Hess put themselves on the map in the late '80s/early '90s by making some of the best value wines in the market from serious vineyards on Mount Veeder and near San Pablo Bay, not to mention from purchased fruit across California. The problem was that at some point, the brand seemed to lose its identity and dedication to quality in the early '00s. They created more tiered labels than anyone could understand, or keep straight, and what they built slowly receded to just another brand on supermarket or "big box" stores shelves. So then why, you may ask, are we putting these wines in front of you? It's because Hess has completely rededicated themselves to quality over the last few years on all levels. They've gone green in the vineyards (sustainable and certified Napa Green), cut way back on production and are focusing on estate-grown wines from the aforementioned vineyards. All in all it is a great comeback story capped off by the affordable and tremendous wines that we have today. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

Staff Reviews

  • Christina Stanley
    By: Christina Stanley
    K&L Staff Member
    The Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay is a beautifully balanced single vineyard Chardonnay from Napa Valley, at an even more beautiful price point. Harvested from the cool climate Su'skol vineyard in the Carneros district, this wine is blended from several different French clones, and is aromatic and crisp. Aged in mostly neutral French Oak, the wine also undergoes batonnage during the aging process, which lends a rich texture. The wine is certainly condensed and expressive enough to stand up to any Napa Chardonnay, and is one of my favorites.
  • Kirk Walker
    By: Kirk Walker
    K&L Staff Member
    This is not the Hess that I remembered. It delivers everything that you want from a Napa Chardonnay. Medium full bodied with a creamy rich mid palate, but not drowned in butter. A touch of oak spice, and a crisp stainless steel finish (only about 25% of the wine underwent malo). Ripe but cool fruit tie everything together. I was taken aback with how much I enjoyed this wine. Being under $20 makes it a little better.
  • Bryan Brick
    By: Bryan Brick
    K&L Staff Member
    The 2014 Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay is a perfect example of this re-dedication to quality. From only their estate vineyard, Su’skol , this is focused, powerful and rich all while clocking in at under $20. Fermented in stainless steel and new and used French oak, allowed to partially go through malolactic fermentation (28%) and aged for 10 months in French oak, 20% of which was new, this wine has shocking balance for a wine of considerable heft. A swirl of French oak spice, melon and crème brûlée build on the nose. With vibrant fruit flavors of honeydew melon, spiced pear and a hint of crystallized ginger there is plenty of fruit complexity to go with broad oaken swath in the mid-palate of vanilla custard and creamed corn, this is one full-bodied Chard for a shockingly reasonable price.
  • Stephanie Vidales
    By: Stephanie Vidales
    K&L Staff Member
    A sub-$20 Chardonnay from Napa Valley that's balanced and delicious? Not easy to find, but Hess sure has done it here. Their Collection line of wines contain fruit that is sourced from higher-end vineyards so you know you're getting a great product. What I think I love most about this Chardonnay is it only goes through partial malolactic fermentation so it has some weight and creaminess but it does not overpower the wine. Hess also used only partial new French oak resulting in a more cleaner, crisper style of Chardonnay is very versatile and drinkable.
  • Andrew Stevens
    By: Andrew Stevens
    K&L Staff Member
    Another fantastic value domestic Chardonnay to add to our string of such wines we have been featuring. This sub $20 Napa Chard from Hess boasts a nice buttery nose before getting into some tropical fruit. Layers of mango, peach, and vanilla are matched with a little spice and bright, lively acid that keeps this wine fresh. Medium bodied and nicely balanced this wine eschews richness for freshness and drinkability.
  • Gary Norton
    By: Gary Norton
    K&L Staff Member
    This year we have already enjoyed a tremendous run on value-driven Domestic Chardonnays. Well ladies and gents, the 2014 Hess Collection NV Chardonnay is another hit. Notes of butter, yellow nectarine and baking spices are front and center here. It's a richer, plusher style of Chardonnay, seeing roughly 20% new wood and going through partial malo. Another great wine from one of the best vintages for Domestic Chardonnay in recent memory.


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