We’re on a philosophical journey toward making the best wine. My dad’s quest has been for greater knowledge and the best plant material for this place—a search for the truth. CHRIS HYDE
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Vineyard: This vineyard is an extension of the man, Larry Hyde. For three decades he has had an intimate relationship with this iconic vineyard, and in the process has built an international reputation as one of the best Chardonnay growers in the world. His research papers on plant (clonal material) are reference points for our industry. He is a humble man, very dry of wit, has a good appetite for excellent food and wine, and likes the company of sincere winemakers and growers.
We are in a small section of the vineyard in the rolling hills of Carneros, planted to what he calls his ‘Small Cluster Clone.’ Tor stood in line for these grapes for 14 years, and we think you will agree the wait was well worth it. Not much crop from these vines, but the wines are exceptional. In 2019 we added another small block of Calera Clone Chardonnay, which lends an added dimension to our Hyde Chardonnays.
Winemaking: Very Burgundian in style. Barrel fermented in small French cooperage, favoring premium three-year air-dried barrels. There is only about 20% new oak on this vineyard, and it is made up of the coopers Saury and Damy. Fermentations begin with native yeast strains for primary and secondary, and the wines receive the minimal amount of handling through the aging period. Bottled unfined, unfiltered; we work hard to bring an honest and true expression of the vineyard to you.
Winemaker Tasting Notes: This may be one of the most stunning renditions of Cuvée Susan we have made. It is classically Burgundian, with a nose of honeysuckle, tangerine peel, crushed rock and gunflint. The palate is seamless, with creamy peaches, citrus oil and racy acidity that demands a long finish. An old-world chardonnay from the new world with precision, focus, and unparalleled purity.
Vintage: The 2021 growing season began with January rains leading to a gentle, sunny spring. The summer was dry – the air clear and warm. By harvest, you could feel the excitement all over Napa Valley, with the potential of an excellent to possibly great vintage. Being a drought year, the crop was off 20% to 25%, but the forecast was for exceptional, concentrated wines. The clusters were uniformly small, providing high skin to juice ration giving the wines structure wrapped around a core of dense fruit. In the barrel these wines came together slowly, and by bottling, the forecast for exceptional wines was realized.
Our 2021 Chardonnays are some of our best, with infinite texture and flavor, yet their complexities and finesse prove they will evolve for decades – an ideal paradox.