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
This vineyard is an extension of the man, Larry Hyde. For three decades he has had an intimate relationship with each vine in his vineyard, and in the process has built an international reputation as one of the best 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.’ I stood in line for these grapes for 14 years, and I think you will agree the wait was well worth it. Not much crop from these vines, but stunning wine. Only three barrels.
Barrel fermented in small French cooperage, favoring premium three year dry aged barrels at a Medium toast level. The single new barrel coopers used are Saury and Damy. Fermentations begin with native yeast 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.
The 2020 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay exhibits crushed oyster shell, honeysuckle, almond and white flowers/wisteria.The palate is very lifted and bright with mandarin orange rind, lemon oil and extreme focus and precision that trails off into a finish that just begs for crab legs or lobster.
Let’s get this out of the way to start. 2020 was the most difficult vintage out of the 44 I’ve been a Napa Valley vintner. The main culprit two fires that burned on for weeks and shaped the vintage in ways I have never witnessed before. Because of this we did not make any Napa Valley Red wines. Despite this we made two very beautiful white wines, unaffected by the fires. This was our Phoenix, and candidly we love them. Both.
The only sad news is the crop was minuscule, and we only made half of our normal production, which as most of you know is very small. But what we made we are very proud of and, frankly love the wines whenever we can open them – which is never enough for me.
I’m not going to go on about the 2020 vintage. You will probably read many reports, some conflicting, but most trying to put a little spin on a very difficult time for all of us in the Napa Valley. It did make us stronger, more connected, but I wish there were better, less injurious ways to do this. I do think we learned a lot, and we are smarter. Time will tell. My prayer, while I savor a glass of my 2020 Chardonnay, is we never have to fight as many battles again in any vintage. This prayer I share with all wine growing regions in the world of wine.