Although still part of the Napa AVA, Los Carneros is a very different beast. It is closer to San Pablo Bay so has more coastal breezes, and the fog is pushed into the Napa Valley from here. So although it is a lot cooler, there are more sunshine hours for a much more even ripening. There are two major varieties here, pinot noir and chardonnay. Countless wineries in the Napa Valley source fruit of these varieties. In fact every chardonnay I tried came from Carneros. The region feeds into the Sonoma Valley, and thus Carneros actually has feet in both Napa and Sonoma County. Hyde de Villaine is a partnership between Larry Hyde who planted his famous vineyard back in 1979 in Carneros, and Aubert de Villaine who married Larry’s first cousin Pamela, and is the winemaker at Domaine de la Romanee Conti. Their goal is to find a truly iconic and unique expression of California, and the winemaker since 2002, Stephane Vivier, is succeeding at this in spades. The winery itself is located in Napa town, but the vineyard is in Carneros. It is difficult not to compare the wines to their French counterparts, but in style they reflect their origins significantly.
|HdV Vineyards tasting|