HDV Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay 2018


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“The 2018 Chardonnay is powerful and hedonistic, with a touch less aromatic purity than its excellent 2019 counterpart. It opens with flinty aromas that segue to white peaches, baked apples, beeswax, roasted almonds and baking spices. The medium-bodied palate is textural and concentrated with flinty accents and rounded acidity, finishing with lots of savory layers and a compelling hint of dried sage. This deserves another 3-5 years in bottle. Drink: 2023-2033. 95 points

I visited Hyde de Villaine in the spring of 2022 to taste with winemaker Guillaume Boudet and general manager James Eyer. Hyde de Villaine produced stunning lineups in 2018 and 2019, with exceptional elegance and balanced structures. 2020 was challenging, with both wildfires and extreme temperatures. “We made as much as we could in 2020, but the real issue was heat,” Boudet explained. “The fires started in August, and there’s really nothing you can do. The heat shut down vines, like in 2017. The heat and dehydration affected us more than the actual smoke.” The constant breezes at Hyde kept the air relatively clear, although there were some ashes on the vines. “We blew the grapes in the vineyard with a fan on a tractor to clean them and rinsed off all the berries with water, going super slow on the sorting table so the water could run off. Overall, we did our due diligence with the reds. But it is also about preserving relationships with growers. We test, we talk about price, we figure it out instead of dropping contracts just before harvest. COVID-19, frost, fire, ash—it was everything in 2020. It was really important to us to respect their overall work throughout 2020. It took courage and guts and risk for wineries to make wines in 2020. It may not be the greatest vintage ever, but the fact that it has the merits to exist—to me that is everything.””

Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate (07/22)