Behind the Cork™ - Duckhorn Chardonnay

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2017 Duckhorn Napa Valley Chardonnay ($19)

Here’s another ‘big name’ Chardonnay that’s worth checking out.

Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley in 1976, which was one of the first 40 Napa Valley wineries. Keenly focused on producing excellent red wines, it wasn’t until 2012 that they produced their first Chardonnay.

Their 100% Chardonnay sees 10 months in French Oak barrels with 40% being new, 30% second vintage and 30% neutral. Although, 10% is held back and is kept in Stainless Steel.

Interestingly, before the barrel aging, 40% of the Chardonnay goes through Malolactic conversion.

This process yields a nicely balanced Chardonnay with nice aromas of nectarine and spices. They even describe it as having aromas of pineapple upside-down cake. And, yes, with that description, I’d agree.

On the palate this Chardonnay does have subtle oak that yields hints of vanilla yet still has some bright fruit and a touch of acidity.

So, this is yet another fine example of a Behind the Cork™ wine — it’s widely available and a really nice value for a Napa Valley Chardonnay. Give it a try! Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Lion Tamer Red Blend

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2016 Lion Tamer Red - The Hess Collection ($45)

This red blend comes from The Hess Collection of wines from Napa Valley.

Hess Family wines was founded by Donald Hess in 1978. Today, Tim Persson (Donald’s son in law) and his wife Sabrina are owners of Hess Family Wine Estates and are the fifth generation of the Hess family to lead the company.

The Lion Tamer is part of a new collection of wines that are not Hess branded. But it certainly represents the tradition and heritage of Hess wines.

This red blend is comprised of 40% Malbec, 27% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Petite Verdot and 1% Merlot.

While the Lion has been the emblem of the Hess Family for nine generations and the name Lion Tamer has become the nickname for Malbec because of their use of Malbec to ‘tame’ the tannin in their Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

The Malbec certainly does its job in taming this wine. It’s amazingly smooth and full of big juicy dark fruit flavors of black plum, black currant, cassis and boysenberry. This wine is a delight and oh so easy to drink.

This is one you’ll want to be on the lookout for! Cheers!


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White of Donna White Communications