Weekly Under $20 Value Wine Pick – 2006 Hayman & Hill Chardonnay, Russian River, California

img_8829Winery: Hayman & Hill

Bottling: 2006 Russian River Chardonnay

Region: California

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.


4 thoughts on “Weekly Under $20 Value Wine Pick – 2006 Hayman & Hill Chardonnay, Russian River, California

  1. Hello Andre,

    I handle public relations for Hayman & Hill wines. So happy to see you enjoyed the Chardonnay. Winemaker Jamie Meves will be too!


    • Hello Tia,
      I’m so glad that you’ve found us. Thank you for taking the time to read the review. Please tell Jamie to keep up the good work!

  2. Andre,
    Apologies….this is the first time I have seen this posting – 4 months later. How kind you are! H&H is a very different Brand within the portfolio – in some ways the best winemaking job (good grapes from great appellations, no geographic restriction), and in some ways a tough one (not considered a strategic brand when dividing resources). It’s a challenging day job made worth it when our customers enjoy the quality and appreciate the value.

    • Hello Jaime,
      No worries on the response time. There’s a sea of wine info for you and your team to scour on a daily basis to see what the public is saying about you. Thank you for taking the time to visit and to leave your comments. Keep up the good, but challenging work you do with managing your resources. Your efforts do not go unappreciated or unnoticed. There’s a boatload of juice out there in the price range Hayman & Hill competes in, and the product you put out far exceeds a lot of what I’ve tasted in that category. I will do my best to continue to spread the word about your wines and wine making.

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