Saturday, August 01, 2015
Located on the benchlands between the Carneros and Mt. Veeder AVAs, the folks at Hendry have been farming wine grapes since 1939. The Hendry family grow 10 different grape varieties on 114 planted acres in the cooler climate, woodsy-westside of the Napa Valley. On arrival at the winery, I was greeted by name (it's the small things that make a difference) by Therese who I had spoken with on the telephone. Vinomaker and I were invited into the lab/office and Therese went off to grab a fresh bottle of Albariño for us to taste. In the lab, doing some research on a computer, was George Hendry the owner, farmer and winemaker. George stopped what he was doing and spent some time chatting with me and Vinomaker about his vineyard and his knowledge (and Napa Valley history) of the Albariño grape. When I told George that I wanted to purchase a bottle of his Albariño to drink on IAD, he smiled and said, "I learned something new today." We all laughed.
And what did I learn yesterday, besides the vital statistics (clone 3 on St. George rootstock), of Mr. Hendry's Albariño vines? Not much, but I was however reminded of something. And that something was this: that on any given day in the Napa Valley one just might happen to chance upon a passionate individual, in a building that feels and looks like a real winery, who will be more than happy to take time and prattle on about all things grape with you, who walks the talk, and who then is eager to share his wine with you. It wasn't about the ostentatiously grandiose, maniacally-marketed, gimmicky green-certified, artwork-crammed temples to all-things-bacchanalian. The real Napa Valley is none of those things; it is about the dedicated farmer who painstakingly nurtures his grapevines in order to make the best vintage of wine that Mother Nature will allow. A refreshing experience.
The wine? The Hendry, 2014 Albariño (Napa Valley) is delightful. With lemon, grass and a pineappley/passion fruit vibe the wine is crisp, clean and right on point. This Albariño does not mess around on the palate, with well focused acidity it leaves the old taste buds wanting more. Good thing that Vinomaker bought 6 bottles.
Happy International Albariño Day to all!