Is Hess chardonnay oaky?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Hess Chardonnay from California is described as “crisp and clean” with low oak influence. This suggests that the wine is not heavily oaked, and instead, focuses more on showcasing the natural characteristics of the Chardonnay grape.

When a Chardonnay is described as “oaky,” it typically means that the wine has spent a significant amount of time aging in oak barrels. This can impart flavors of vanilla, toast, and sometimes even a buttery or creamy texture to the wine. However, in the case of the Hess Chardonnay, the focus seems to be on preserving the fruit-forward and aromatic qualities of the grape itself rather than the influence of oak.

The description mentions an “aromatic musque,” which suggests that the wine has a pronounced aroma. This can be attributed to the specific clone of Chardonnay used, as well as the winemaking techniques employed. The aromas and flavors described, such as apple, white pear, and tropical fruits, indicate a fruit-driven profile.

Additionally, the mention of honeysuckle aromas adds a floral component to the wine, which can contribute to its overall complexity and appeal. This suggests that the Hess Chardonnay has a well-rounded flavor profile with a balance between fruit, floral, and possibly even mineral notes.

It’s important to note that personal taste preferences can vary when it comes to oak in Chardonnay. Some people enjoy the richness and complexity that oak aging can bring, while others prefer a lighter, fruit-forward style. If you are someone who prefers a Chardonnay with minimal oak influence, the Hess Chardonnay may be a good choice for you.

In terms of personal experience, I have tried many Chardonnays from California, some of which have been heavily oaked while others have had a more subtle oak presence. I find that Chardonnays with low oak tend to showcase the natural fruit flavors and acidity of the grape, allowing for a refreshing and vibrant drinking experience.

To summarize, based on the description provided, it appears that the Hess Chardonnay from California is not heavily oaked. Instead, it focuses on highlighting the fruit-forward qualities of the Chardonnay grape, with aromas and flavors of apple, white pear, and a touch of tropical fruits. The mention of a low oak influence suggests a crisp and clean wine with a potential for a more delicate and nuanced flavor profile.