Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hess Su'skol Vineyard Chardonnay

Wine Guy and Wine Gal are not big fans of white wines. For some reason, we just love the taste of dry reds so much that we're usually let-down when we try a white. The one exception to this, however, is Chardonnay. We think it has something to do with the fact that most Chardonnays are aged in oak barrels, giving them the oakiness that we love so much in reds.

As you probably know from our previous posts, we're members of the wine club at the Hess Collection in Napa. It is by far one of the best wineries we've ever been to, and we are consistently impressed with both the quality of the wines and the quality of the people at Hess every single time we visit.

Tonight we enjoyed the Hess 2007 Su'skol Vineyard Chardonnay, which is a relatively new release for the winery. Even though there is a more expensive Chardonnay on the wine list at Hess, we prefer the Su'skol because, let's face it, we don't have very refined palates when it comes to Chardonnays! We talked to one of the employees at Hess about this, who actually admitted to us that she enjoys the "cheaper" Chardonnays that have a more buttery, oaky taste to them. We completely agreed. This Chard fits the bill. It's got just enough of each of the previously mentioned flavors, but not too much, so that it's just right!

At $25.00 a bottle, it's still not your budget wine, but definitely affordable to enjoy every now and then. We're heading back to Hess this weekend with Wine Guy's brother and sister-in-law, and we're planning to buy some more!

Check it out if you get a chance. I don't think it's available in grocery/liquor stores, but definitely available if you order it straight from Hess. Here's a link to the Su'skol Chardonnay specs on Hess's website.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Four Winery Day: 2/14/09

Today we visited four wineries in Napa & Sonoma for Valentine's Day. Below I'll recap each one and our favorite wines at each:

1) Hess Collection
We are wine club members here, so we had to go to pick up our latest wine club shipment. We also decided to stick around and do a little tasting! :) We are generally "dry red people", but ventured out of our comfort zones today and actually enjoyed the Sus'kol Vineyard Chardonnay enough that we bought it. It had a fruity nose and a full-bodied mouth feel with a hint of buttery, oakiness on the finish! Our other favorites today were the '05 Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (sooooo smooth!) and the '06 Artezin Dry Creek Zinfandel.

2) Jacuzzi Family Winery
We're members here as well, and our main reason for visiting the winery today was to take part in the "Olive Odyssey" event that was going on. We also managed to fit in a few tastes while we were there, and while Wine Guy enjoyed the Valeriano the most, Wine Gal's personal fave was the Cab. We already have a bottle of the Valeriano at home, so we'll have to invest in a bottle of the Cab sometime in the near future...

3) Ravenswood Winery
We visited this one back in the fall of '07 and loved it, and it didn't disappoint this time either! It's so funny because we both LOVE Zins so much, and that is by far the best wine that Ravenswood makes, but both times we've been here we ended up buying their Sangiacomo Chardonnay. Wine Gal says it's the BEST Chardonnay she's ever had, and it is only available in the Ravenswood tasting room (you can't even find this one at specialty wine stores). The Pickberry was also fabulous...80% Merlot, 20% Cab.

4) Buena Vista Winery
This was the only one we visited today that we had never been to before. We were very impressed! We honestly did not taste one wine that we didn't enjoy here. If you are ever in Sonoma, this winery is a MUST. They had a few different Chardonnays to taste, and our favorite was the '06 Ramal Vineyard Chardonnay. Next up were tasted three different Pinot Noirs, and again, they were all excellent, but our favorite was the '06 Ramal Vineyard Swan Selection Pinot Noir. Just when we thought the wines couldn't get any better, we tasted the '06 Ramal Vineyard Syrah. WOW. We ended up buying two bottles of it because it was so good. Very smooth, a little smoky, a little spicey. We finished the tasting with their Merlot, which was excellent as well, but we just liked the Syrah a little bit better.