When it comes to gift giving, I have a favorite choice that everyone loves: wine. Of course – how nice! Whether it’s in a decorative bag, in a basket surrounded by snacks and goodies, or in a large box delivered to the front door, every wine lover appreciates a carefully chosen bottle (or bottles!) intended to please. This year, I discovered three wines from The Hess Collection, all sent as samples, that you’ll deem thoughtful gifts exuding quality and taste. But the naughty part? You’ll want to keep them for yourself…

 Though just 30 miles long and a few miles wide, Napa Valley is home to diverse microclimates and soils uniquely suited to wine grape growing. It is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world and for our Napa Valley wines we look to our estate vineyards and select growers throughout the valley to source the very best wine grapes. The Hess Collection wines are family owned, sustainably farmed and dedicated to reflecting a true sense of place. Our wines are recognizable for their elegant, rich and complex flavors and a tradition of excellence. The Hess Collection


Hess Collection Wine

Photo Credit: www.hesscollection.com


Elegant? Rich? Complex? Who wouldn’t want wines that boast those descriptors? We all do!

Chardonnay lovers will crave each sip of the Hess Collection Napa Valley Chardonnay 2015 ($22). On the nose, I discovered juicy citrus, apples, pears, gentle oak, and warm butter. The rich, flavorful palate showed hints of tropical fruit, ripe apples, and yellow flowers cloaked in refreshing acidity and a creamy mouthfeel, all elements leading to a clean, buttery finish. Chardonnay grapes were cultivated in the Su’skol vineyard that was painstakingly farmed to “emphasize fruit with wonderful acidity and balance”. Only a small portion of the juice was fermented in new French Oak with just 20% undergoing secondary fermentation. A glass or two of this exceptional Chardonnay will pair beautifully with Pan Roasted Wild King Salmon with Charred Tomato Horseradish Sauce and Crispy Vegetables, a recipe from Chad Hendrickson, Executive Chef at The Hess Collection.

The Hess Collection Chardonnay
One of my favorites was the Hess Collection “Allomi” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($32) from their Allomi Estate vineyard located on the rolling hills of northeastern Napa Valley. Consisting of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Sirah, and 2% Petit Verdot, this blend was an elegant gift of flavor and balance. Intense aromas of blueberries, red fruit, eucalyptus, vanilla, and spice taunted my nose… I explored elements of blackberries, plums, blueberries, spice while bright acidity and satin-like tannins added structure and balance to the round mouthfeel and lush finish. Thanks to its earthy and fruit driven flavors, this brilliant wine will be an “ahhhh” inducing complement to Executive Chef Chad Hendrickson’s recipe for Grilled Pork Chop with Roasted Butternut Squash.

The Hess Collection
It will be difficult to place this beauty in the gift basket, but if you’re “nice” you will… The Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($65), a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot, delivers every element a Cabernet lover desires. Indulgent aromas of rich red fruit, blueberries, blackberries, vanilla, and tangy spice led to crave-worthy notes of juicy cherries, wild raspberries, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and more oaky spice on the palate. Powerful but smooth tannins and bright acidity added sophistication and complexity to this plush, decadent wine. Sipped as a complement to Chef Hendrickson’s recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Farro, the evening will be cause for celebration, if only for this superior food and wine pairing.

The Hess Collection
The Hess Family Wine Estate is a family owned, fifth generation company with a portfolio that includes The Hess Collection, Colome and Amalaya, Artezin, and MacPhail Wines. The story at Hess pivots around its mission to raise the wine experience for anyone who visits. I haven’t had that opportunity yet, but I’m looking forward to gaining first-hand knowledge of their efforts in sustainable farming, learning about their state of the art winemaking equipment (it’s true…I’m a geek), and appreciating their world-class contemporary art gallery. I encourage you to visit their website in order to discover more about the wines, offerings at their tasting room, food and wine experiences, exceptional art collection, and more.

In the meantime, I’ll be “nice” and gift some worthy wine lovers with these three bottles from The Hess Collection. But, shhhhh! I plan to keep some for myself… It’s just fine to be “naughty” every now and then!

Cheers~ Cindy

For more memorable wine and food gift giving ideas, check out the following posts from my food and wine writing colleagues.

Jade from The Tasting Pour – “How to Choose a Wine Gift”

Jeff from foodwineclick – “Holiday Wine Gift Ideas: Not Just Any Champagne”

David from Cooking Chat   – “Christmas Wine Gifts: Tips and Bottles To Give”

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm – “Spreading Christmas Cheer”

Michelle from Rockin Red Blog – “How to Give the Gift of Wine”

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator  – “Good Gifts Have Good Stories: 4 Wineries from Napa”

Culinary Adventures with Camilla – “Sips Worth Sharing”

Jennifer from Vino Travels  – “Holiday Wines with a Sicilian Flair”

Lauren from The Swirling Dervish – “Family, Food, and Wine: The Gift of Memories”

Jill from L’Occasion – “Wine Wrapped Up: The L’occasion Gift Guide”

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  1. Reply

    A great selection of wines, with delectable recipes to pair with them! And you’re right, Cindy – I’d be tempted to keep those wines for myself, too. Happy holidays to you.. Cheers!

    • Cindy Rynning


      Happy holidays, Lauren! Hess wines are superb and paired with these recipes – just wow!! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Reply

    What a nice introduction to The Hess Collection wines. I love their pairing suggestions complete with recipe. Cheers Cindy!

  3. Michelle Williams


    Great wine and food pairing suggestions Cindy! It has been years since I have had any Hess Collection wines. It is nice to be reacquainted through you. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  4. Reply

    I love Mt Veeder wines – pleased to see a bottle included in this charming collection! Giving a gift with several wines from the same producer is a fantastic idea. These have elegance and a beautiful story.

    I’d love to try charred tomatoes with horseradish sauce – how flavorful!

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