2017 Massican Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Napa Valley

Brilliant fruit meets deft winemaking

2017 Massican Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Napa Valley

Massican winemaker Dan Petroski sources Chardonnay for his bottling from the Hyde Vineyard in cool Carneros. In 2017 he harvested the fruit at 22.4° Brix and barrel-fermented it in 100 percent new French oak. But he doesn’t let the wine go through malolactic fermentation, so the overall effect both shimmery and structured. It’s not quite satiny, more like dupioni silk, with its nubs and texture, its intriguing sheen, its deeper visual interest.

Sunny and even-keeled, luminous and balanced, it’s a wine that feels inspired more by Burgundy than Chablis. It’s always one of my favorite California Chardonnays.

2017 Massican Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Napa Valley

13.9% abv | $45 (sample)

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5 Comments

  • Is the 100% new oak a change for 2017? My note for the bottle I opened in April noted a broader texture than prior vintages, and also more spice.

    • Great observation, David. My notes do indicate that the percentage of new French oak has risen each year. I tasted the 2014 with winemaker Dan Petroski in Napa with nary a tech sheet in sight, and at the time he told me that there was “quite a lot” of new wood. I did get technical details for subsequent vintages:

      2015: 65 percent
      2016: 85 percent
      2017: 100 percent

      The fruit seems to handle it well. Perhaps we can coax Dan into adding a line or two here about this stylistic approach.

  • Hi, Meg. Hi, David.

    Thanks for the questions and comments on the use of oak on the Hyde Chardonnay. It is true that I utilized 100% new French Oak on my 2017 vintage and the oak influence has been climbing each and every year. There are a handful of reasons for this.

    1, Sadly, 2017 was a low yielding vintage. We have to order our barrels for the vintage in March/April, before we know if we will have a large crop or not; so, when the yield was down 20% year-over-year I had more new wood than I needed. However….

    2, I have always wanted to test the limits of the oak influence on the wine – what is too much oak, what is too little. This was my chance.

    3, I always say, “don’t listen to what I say, listen to what I am not saying!” In this particular example, what I did not tell you was –

    first, the forest from which the wood is harvested is a more mild forest, less impact than some of the more know French forests like “Troncais” for example;

    second, the wood after harvesting and cut into staves is aged for 36 months, and thus has a little more time in the field to leech out its tannins and woodiness;

    third, the barrels are larger than traditional “barriques”. I am using 300L barrels instead of 225L barrels. Therefore there is more wine to wood ratio and thus less “oak” influence;

    fourth, my cooper is applying a “lighter” toast level … do you see where I am going with this ?

    And last but not least, yes, the wine does not go through maloactic fermentation and remains only in barrel for 6 months, so the wine and the wood have a very short, non-integrated relationship.

    My hope and philosophy with oak has always been that it helps elevate some aspects of the wine itself; similar to how a chef would use salt and pepper. For me, the wine is citrus dominated and I hope that the oak influences more of the texture of the wine; softening the lemon zest acidity by converting some of it to lemon oil; thus softening the palate, changing the intensity level but not changing the natural flavors of the wine.

    Does all that make sense ? Let me know!

    Dan

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