Winery: Hayman & Hill
Bottling: 2006 Russian River Chardonnay
Sub-Region: Russian River Valley, Sonoma
Estimated Retail Price: $12 – $14
Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Leftover inventory from our now-defunct retail wine shop project. Had with Thai food.
Tasting Notes: The problem I occasionally see with chardonnays in this price range is that they are over-oaked. I hear that this heavy oaking is done in order to “cover up” mediocre or below par fruit. What you end up getting is chardonnay tasting liquid. I guess it makes sense for what it is, but I’ve never worked in a winery, so I can’t say for sure. I just hear these kinds of comments on the street.
The 2006 Hayman & Hill Chardonnay seemed to have enough quality fruit that it didn’t need the full oak treatment. Don’t get me wrong, there was oak, but there was enough fruit and acid to balance the wine out. On the nose were aromas of pear and tropical fruit. On the palate were melon, pear, pineapple and star fruit. Rounding the wine out were a tinge of butter and a hint of spice from the oak.
I think the wine was at it’s peak. We’ve had the wine several times in the past and I remember there being more energy and viscosity in the wine early. This last drink though, told me that this bottle’s run was over. I didn’t get the sense that more complexity or evolution of the wine was going to happen. Still a solid wine at the price.
Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: I never would have thought of picking a chardonnay to go with Thai food in the past, but ever since Master Sommelier Andrea Immer recommended them as perfect pairings for Thai curries, I’ve always reached for one. There’s good synergy between the buttery, oakiness of a chard and the rich creaminess of coconut milk in Thai curries. Try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Winery & Other Background Info: Hayman & Hill Winery also makes a good cabernet that we used to carry and sell a lot of to our customers. I wish the local distributor had brought in the other wines in their lineup, because I liked what I saw in their chard and cab. They make a broad range of other wines sourced from different areas up and down the coast of California as well as Washington state. And for every varietal they produce, they make sure to match a source of fruit from an area that excels in growing that particular grape. Seek their wines out for everyday consumption.