French call it the "gout de terroir" or the "taste of the earth" -- the special
quality of a wine which is imparted by the land from which it was produced. It
is the intangible element that sets one wine apart from another and makes some
vineyards legendary. This concept became the basis for the French system of appellation
controllee, which defines specific growing regions in order to control the quality
of the wine. The American appellation program, administered by the Federal government,
finds its origins in the French system but expands the concept by recognizing
the importance of regional climates as well as soil types.
The unique character of The Hess Collection wines is an expression of the distinctive
nature of the grapes grown in our estate vineyards on Mt. Veeder. Complex, powerful
and elegant, the wines created from Mt. Veeder fruit have an identity all their
own. The special qualities of these mountain grapes result from a singular combination
of climatic and geographic factors -- creating a viticultural region unlike any
other. What has long been recognized by growers, vintners and wine lovers is now
official. On March 22, 1990, the Mt. Veeder -- Napa Valley appellation was established
and approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Mt. Veeder attained this status because viticulture on its slopes is markedly
different than in the surrounding areas. Two factors contribute to the special
character of Mt. Veeder grapes -- micro-climates and soil. Moderate temperatures
and heavy winter rains create ideal conditions for the grapes to ripen. Poor soils
with good drainage stress the vines, resulting in small berries with intense,
concentrated flavors and aromas. The wines produced from these grapes are powerful
and complex, displaying an intense fruit character and excellent balance.
Vineyards are at the heart of The Hess Collection winemaking philosophy. The Mt.
Veeder - Napa Valley appellation appears on the crest label of our estate wines,
reflecting The Hess Collection commitment to this unique viticultural region and
our belief in the quality of the grapes it produces.
Chardonnay Our Mount Veeder grapes create rare wines of excellent structure,
subtlety, and intriguing complexity. The desirable tropical fruit flavors are
achieved by adding a strategic percentage of Carneros Chardonnay. All of the Hess
Collection Chardonnays are then aged for ten months in French oak barrels.
Cabernet Sauvignon Our Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon offers the full
spectrum of varietal flavors -- black cherry, cedar, nutmeg, chocolate, bay laurel,
and pepper. These main characteristics are expressed by wine maker Randle Johnson's
blend of our ninety-six specific vineyard blocks. After at least twenty months
of aging in French oak barrels the assemblage of the final master blend achieves
our hallmark intensity and complexity. The Reserve is produced from our twenty
year old vines, only in the years when we have first accomplished a perfect blend
of our Hess Collection Estate Cabernet.
Hess Select Chardonnay Since our first vintage in 1988 the impressively
direct varietal style of Hess Select has made this fresh and fruity Chardonnay
a favorite everyday choice. Popular at home and as an acclaimed wine-by-the-glass
at a growing number of the nation's finest restaurants.
Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon Hess Select's master blend is created by
wine maker Tom Smith from a variety of grapes selected from California's most
prestigious appellations. Each viticultural region lends it's own distinctive
personality to create a wine full of flavors but with agreeably mild tannins,
enabling early enjoyment while maintaining the Hess tradition of quality.