Two weeks ago I attended another winemaker tasting a Bon Vivant in Smithfield, VA with guest speaker, Susan Ridley of Hendry Wines. Sue joined Hendry as a partner in 1995, and currently has the responsibility of developing Hendry’s brand and managing sales and marketing. Sue provided our group a lot of historical information on the early years of the Hendry family and their vineyards.
Hendry is a small estate winery located in Napa Valley, between the Carneros and Mt. Veeder viticultural districts. Their 117 acres currently under vine is divided up in to 50 different vineyard blocks (yep, that’s five zero, fifty), and each of the 50 different vineyard blocks is managed separately. Now I’m not a farmer, winemaker or viticulturalist, but I can imagine the work that goes in to managing 50 separate vineyards blocks is just a bit demanding.
The land that the Hendry Ranch sits on was purchased by George Whiting Hendry in 1939, and is managed today by his son, George Ott Hendry, who has lived on the property and tended the vines his entire life. Although I have not yet met George, he appears to be quite an interesting dude. He received his undergrad and graduate degrees from UC Berkely and divides his time between growing grapes and designing and manufacturing particle accelerators.
I find these second and third generation family wineries often provide the most sincere wines, and Hendry is certainly part of that group.
Hendry Ranch 2008 Rose Wine ($16): Hendry produced 650 cases of this wine. This is a busy Rose – a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and just a tad of Primitivo (the Hendry Primitivo is supa dupa!). 13.5% alcohol. Bright pink in color, leaning towards salmon. Strawberry Jolly Rancher jumped out at me on the nose accompanied by a watermelon and slight citrus aroma. The strawberry Jolly Rancher continued in the mouth and was balanced with a crisp acidity along with flavors of pink grapefruit and apricot. Near the end of the bottle, I picked up an unusual alcohol taste that lingered on the finish.
I’m looking forward to visiting Hendry for a tour and tasting during my trip to Napa in July to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference.
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