HdV is located on the northern fringes of the city of Napa just west of the Silverado Trail. This winery was founded in 2000 and is a partnership between two families – the Hydes who are based in the Napa Valley and the de Villaines who are based in Burgundy, France. Larry Hyde’s wine making family history dates back to the early 1800′s making him a part of one of California’s oldest winemaking families. Larry manages the fairly well known Hyde Vineyard in the Carneros region (since 1979), which is the single source for their entire line of wines. The Hyde Vineyard also supplies fruit to a number of other well-known Napa & Sonoma wineries. This is very much a working winery and as soon as you step inside the main building you will find yourself surrounded by wine barrels and several tanks.
Their approach to winemaking is somewhat minimal in nature as much of the work that goes into making these high end wines starts and ends in the vineyards. They handle the fruit as minimally and gently as possible although once its picked they have a rigorous sorting program in place which only allows the finest fruit to be used. Gravity flow is used as much as possible rather than pumps – each of the barrel lots is carefully followed throughout its aging and only the “top” barrels are used for their final blends. The tastings are always conducted with the winemaker or assistant winemaker. You will taste the wine at two wine barrels which are setup in the middle of the main barrel room.
They produce three types of wine including two Chardonnays (the HdV and the de la Guerra) – one from older vines and one from younger vines. Throw out any preconceived notions you have about Malolactic Fermentation and Chardonnay when you try these. These wines undergo 100% ML with neutral bacteria but are wines that are not characterized by the usual things when discussing ML (I.E. buttery, viscous etc). Their Chardonnays are rather crisp as the acidity plays a big part in this – they are well balanced delicious wines. Their Syrah is non blended with great floral & berry aromas. We tried the same Syrah from a barrel containing a vintage one year older than the bottle (their Syrahs are aged in large oak barrels). The differences between the two wines were very pronounced in the aromas and flavors and really gives one perspective of how quickly a Syrah can “come around” during its aging.
One last interesting note is they have donated a barrel of wine to the well-known Auction Napa Valley each year for the past few years. The unique part of this is their barrel was the only white wine out of 100+ barrels of red wines that were donated by Napa wineries! What is great is that their wine has typically been in the top 10 highest receiving bids at this auction. Because this is a small winery and they do receive a number of requests for tastings, you should schedule appointments well in advance. As with other small area wineries, they have more time constraints during harvest in September and October. Visit: www.hdvwines.com