2014 Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1265565 90 points Wine Enthusiast

 The producer pulls from its estate Su'skol Vineyard for this wine, which opens in an aromatic flirtation of sweet honeysuckle, revealing the site's abundance of musqué clone. Crisp on the entry and midpalate, it shows a full-bodied style as it opens—notes of pear and fig are wrapped between spicy nutmeg and a viscous bite of oak on the finish. (VB)  (3/2017)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Readers looking for one of the big-time sleepers of the vintage, and a great value, need look no further than the 2014 Chardonnay Estate Napa. This is 100% Chardonnay from Napa and it sells for a song – and more good news is there are just over 24,000 cases of this wine that went through about 25% malolactic and was aged in stainless steel and neutral wood. Exotic floral notes of mango and guava jump from the glass, along with pineapple and honeysuckle. It is medium-bodied, crisp and fresh with loads of fruit. This is a big-time winner! Drink it over the next year. As I indicated last year, the Hess Collection winery up on Mt. Veeder is profiting from a complete makeover and producing better and better wines as well as more special cuvées. This was a winery that burst on the scene in the mid-1980s with some terrific wines and then became moribund. That’s all changing now, as the recent releases strongly evidence. (RP)  (12/2016)

Wine Spectator

 Pithy citrus peel elements impart distinctive texture and flavor in this white, which is pleasing and cleansing. Drink now. (JL)  (6/2016)

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)

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Price: $17.99
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Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/8/2017 | Send Email
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.

Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/15/2017 | Send Email
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.

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/20/2017 | Send Email
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.

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
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.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
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.

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
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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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.4